Pune: Pune Warriors India will finally get to play at home this Indian Premier League as the Rs 260-crore Gahunje cricket stadium - just 20kms from the city - is set to be inaugurated here on Sunday. Located at Gahunje, the stadium will be the home ground of PWI, led by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, and is scheduled to host their the first match on April 8.
Built and owned by Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), the Gahunje stadium, with a capacity of 45,000, will be the venue of as many as nine IPL matches this season. "The first phase of the stadium is ready to host the IPL matches when Pune Warriors India will take on eight other teams at their home ground for the first time. A total of nine matches will be played in the new stadium as Pune has also got a chance to host one play-off match between the first-placed team and second-placed team on May 22," Ajay Shirke, the MCA president, said.
Shirke said PWI captain Ganguly had already visited the stadium with other team members for practice. Highlighting the features of the stadium, he described it as an "architectural wonder" designed by the renowned Sir Michael Hopkins. One of the most important aspects of the stadium is stated to be its drainage system.
"Many times rain plays the spoilsport and even light showers for some time force organizers to alter the match duration. To overcome this problem MCA has opted for a sand-based outfield, developed departmentally with technical assistance from a UK company," the MCA boss said.
"The stadium and the seating arrangements have been designed in such a way that an unobstructed view is assured from every location, making it the best match viewing experience, enhanced by four big LED screens strategically placed to watch replays."
A statue of legendary cricketer DB Deodhar will adorn the stadium, to be inaugurated by ICC president Sharad Pawar in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Subrata Roy, the Sahara India Pariwar chairman.