THE renovation of one of India’s unused cricket stadiums is struggling to achieve completion after being abandoned and left to rot.
The Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad was last used for an official match in March 2006 as India played England in an ODI – a game which the hosts won by four wickets.
More than four years on from the beginning of the rebuild and the stadium is still unfinishedCredit: Facebook
The Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad hasn’t hosted a professional cricket match since 2006Credit: Facebook
Constructed in 1981, the 25,000-seater stadium was one of the largest cricket stadiums in India and boasted state-of-the-art facilities.
As a result, it oversaw eight ODIs and more than 50 Ranji and Deodhar Trophy matches between 1982 and 2006 as it became one of the leading venues in the country.
However, disaster struck in 2007 when it was decided that the ground and pitch conditions were no longer suitable for top-level cricket.
This would all but spell the end of games at the stadium and it’s general use for the sport.
Now, the stadium resembles more of a graveyard than a stadium as crumbling walls, steps and seats make for glum viewing.
Rubble, dirt and dead grass add to the sorry state of affairs at the scene.
Things have been left so unattended that trees and foliage have grown in and around the stands and seating areas.
What was once home to six Indian international fixtures, and saw famous victories against Zimbabwe and England, is now an eerily and lifeless dust bowl.
Following the decision to move cricket games elsewhere, former Indian stumper and chief curator at Nahar Singh Stadium, Vijay Yadav, said it became “impossible” to maintain ground conditions.
As reported by the Indian Express, he said: “We should look into our own faults first. At present I think the ground is in a bad shape.
“What generally happens is that before every match, we take over from the local administration and work very hard on ground conditions.
“But every time it is not possible. To stage a match, you need the ground to be under complete control of the cricket association”.
Following years of negligence, works to restore the venue were eventually granted some years later.
The project aimed to increase the seating capacity to 40,000 and completely renovate the old building.
The stadium’s renovations began in January 2019 and were expected to be completed by 2022.
Should that have been achieved, it may well have been in the running to become one of the host stadiums for this year’s 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in October.
The stadium will cost 222 billion rupees to renovateCredit: Facebook
The initial renovation plans would’ve seen the stadium completed last yearCredit: Facebook
However, just 85% construction of Phase I has been completed in four-and-a-half-years.
The budget requirement has since shot up by 80 per cent, from 1.23 billion rupees (£11.7 million) to 2.22 billion rupees (£21.2 million).
According to The Tribune, the renovation work missed its March 31 deadline for the fourth consecutive year – 2020, 2021, 2022 and now 2023.
And following the missed deadline five months ago, it was declared there was no chance the project would be completed this year.
The coronavirus pandemic, improper planning and execution, and delays in releasing funds have been the factors behind the slow start.
Following this year’s missed deadline, an MC official said the work had been on hold for months due to the pending approval to start Phase II.
But Phase II will only get the go-ahead once the MC get the funds granted by the government – 990 million rupees (£9.4 million).
A Facebook group called ‘Bring Back Cricket In Nahar Singh Stadium, Faridabad’ was created in October 2016.
Locals and cricket fans helped to form a movement and gain popularity for the group over the years, as they longed to watch games in the forgotten ground once more.
On the page’s ‘about’ section, it reads: “Since 2006 due to petty politics it has never hosted any match but people have emotions attached to it.”
“Like this page to motivate the authorities to bring back Cricket here in nahar Singh Stadium, Faridabad.”
Once plans were released to renovate the stadium, there was a sense of relief for members of the group and local cricket fans.
But following the inability to complete Phase 1 of the project, the group has become active once more.
However, there could still be some light at the end of the tunnel.
In April, OP Kardam, MC Executive Engineer, said, “The work of both the phases is interlinked. The work at the site will resume soon.”
Four months on, though, and it remains unclear where the stadium’s future lies.
The stadium held 25,000 spectators and had state-of-the-art facilitiesCredit: Facebook
It became abandoned and left to rot up until renovation works began in 2019Credit: Facebook
The rebuild plans consisted of increasing the stadium’s capacity to 40,000Credit: Facebook
Work began in 2019 and was supposed to be complete in 2022Credit: Facebook