Pune: The Maharashtra Cricket Association’s Subrata Roy Sahara cricket stadium near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is already the most expensive cricket stadium in the country, at Rs 300 crore. And within a week since it held its first big game - Pune Warriors India vs Kings XI Punjab on April 8 - the cost has just gone up, thanks to some unruly and wild behaviour by the crowd.
Nearly 200 chairs, all imported from Australia, were broken by spectators, who chose to stand and even, dance on them at times. “Such conduct is really painful for an association to bear. The stadium has been built after efforts of several years and we treat this stadium as our child,” MCA president Ajay Shirke told MiD DAY.
The chairs, specifically made to make sitting very comfortable, have an upward inclination, which broke due to the unruly crowd. During the testing of the chairs, the company had assured the MCA that they would be unbreakable even if it were smashed repeatedly by a hammer.
“The renowned Australian company had done a lot of scientific research before making these chairs. However, our people have shown their ability to challenge any scientific research,” remarked an MCA official, who didn’t want to be named. “Fortunately, we had spare chairs with us, so we could replace them before our next home game,” the official added.
With each chair costing Rs 1,900, the damage itself has cost MCA Rs 3,80,000. Add to that, a couple of commode chairs broken in the public toilet and an ‘accidental’ damage to the dressing room door (worth Rs 4,50,000) by Kings XI Punjab batsman Paul Valthaty. “It’s our sincere request to the public to treat this stadium as their home, and handle this asset with a lot of love and care,” Shirke said.
However, Col. Arvinder Singh, COO, Kings XI Punjab, clarified: “Kings XI Punjab would like to clarify that none of their players is responsible for any damage in the dressing room during Pune Warriors and KXIP match in Sahara Stadium on Sunday, April 08, 2012 as reported by some of the press. The news is totally baseless and speculative. KXIP are a team that believes in fair play and our players have the maturity to play the game in true spirit.”
With Pune Warriors India and Chennai Super Kings preparing for their battle here on Saturday, MCA officials are busy planning for Sunday morning, praying that the damage is, at least, kept to a minimum.