The Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, which was recently renamed the Arun Jaitley Stadium, was constructed in 1883, making it the second oldest cricket stadium in the country, with only Eden Gardens being older. It has a capacity of just under 42,000, which means that it is also one of the largest in India. It is currently the home of the Delhi Cricket team and the Delhi Capitals. It hasn’t hosted a test match or T20 since the end of 2017, but ODI matches are still regularly played here. Keep on reading to find out more interesting information.
The History of Feroz Shah Kotla Ground
This fantastic cricket stadium has not always looked as elegant as it does today. When it was first built, this venue had a Spartan look to it, but there were supposedly never enough funds in the pot to keep it in top shape and it slowly fell into a state of disrepair. The Delhi District Cricket Association (DCCA) were told by the ICC that they needed to fix it or risk having the stadium banned from hosting international matches, but they didn’t seem too fussed about that.
It was only when Arun Jaitley took over as the President of the DDCA that the fortunes of the stadium began to change. It was during his tenure that he made sure that the stadium was upgraded with modern facilities, its capacity was increased, and that it was renovated in such a way that it was deemed fit to host international cricket. He did not care about how much it would cost, he was only interested in ensuring that the people of Delhi were able to continue to watch their beloved national team play.
While the stadium was undergoing repairs, the matches that would have been played there were played at the Roshanara Club stadium, which is an old colonial ground. After a couple of years, the stadium was back to a high standard and international (as well as domestic) cricket matches returned to it.
If it weren’t for his encouragement, support, and love for the game, Indian fans might never have got to see the likes of Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra, Rishabh Pant, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli make their country proud. Therefore, the city of Delhi knew that they had a lot to thank Arun Jaitley for and, when he sadly passed away on August 2019 after a short illness, they decided to rename the stadium after him.
So, you might be wondering how the stadium got its original name. Well, it was named after Feroz Shah Tuqhlaq, who was the Emperor of Delhi between 1351 and 1388. During his reign, he faced a number of rebellions due to some of his actions, but there is no doubt that he played an important role in the history of what is now known as Delhi. He built canals, hospitals, rest-houses, refurbished reservoirs and dug wells. He also founded a number of cities around Delhi, such as Firozabad, Hissar, Jaunpur, Firozpur, and Fatehabad.
On the same day that the stadium was named after Arun Jaitley, one of the stands was named after local boy Virat Kohli, making him the youngest play ever to have a stand named after him. The other two stands are named after Mohinder Amarnath and Bishan Singh Bedi, while the home dressing room is named after Ramna Lamba and the away dressing room is named after Prakash Bhandari.
This stadium has become a bit of a graveyard for visiting national teams as India rarely lose here, regardless of the format that is being played. England are the most successful visiting team, having managed to win three matches here.
What Historic Cricket Games Have Taken Part in This Cricket Stadium?
India V Pakistan in 1999: During this match, the crowd got to see Anil Kumble take 10 wickets for just 74 runs in one innings. This made him just the second bowler to pick up all the wickets in a single innings. The other bowler to achieve such a feat was Australia’s Jim Laker.
England V Afghanistan in 2016: This was the first T20 match that was played at this stadium. England scored 142 from their 20 overs and Afghanistan fell just 15 runs shy of their target. Moeen Ali was the Player of the Match as he hit 41* from 33 balls. The first ever T20 match involving India took place at this ground in November 2017 when they took on New Zealand. India won the match by 53 runs, but they are yet to play another T20 international here.
India v West Indies in 1948: This was the first ever test to be played at this stadium. In their first innings, a talented West Indies side scored 631 runs, but India managed to hold on to a draw when they were forced to follow on.
Here is Some Fun Trivia about the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground
- In 1952, India’s Ghulam Ahmed and Hemu Adhikari put on a 109-run partnership for the tenth wicket. This is a record that still stands to this very day.
- In 1965, Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan took 12 wickets for 152 runs in the 4th test against New Zealand. India went on to win the game by 7 wickets.
- In 1983, Sunil Gavaskar notched up his 29th test century, putting him on level terms with the great Don Bradman.
- In 2005, Sachin Tendulkar scored his 35th test hundred, putting him above the record of 34 which was set by Sunil Gavaskar.
- In 2009, a match against Sri Lanka was cancelled as the condition of the pitch was deemed not fit enough to host an international match. The stadium was then banned from hosting international matches for a year.
- Dilip Vengsarkar has scored 671 runs at this ground, which is more than any other player.
- In December 2017, Virat Kohli scored 243 runs, which is the highest individual score on this ground.
When is the Best Time to Pay a Visit to the Stadium?
If you happen to be visiting Delhi when a match is scheduled to be played, you really should consider purchasing a ticket and going to watch it. No matter how many cricket games you have watched in the past, this will be a brand-new experience for you. There is nothing quite like watching a game of cricket in one of the country’s oldest stadiums while surrounded by 40,000 passionate fans all mostly cheering for one team to win. You will have a fantastic day out, that is for sure.
Some stadiums in India allow fans to have a tour when matches are not being played, while others do not unless permission is gained from the authority in charge. Unfortunately, the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium falls into the latter category. Therefore, if you want to have a look around the stadium during your visit to Chennai, get in touch with the DDCA to ask for permission. If there is no match being played in the near future, they are often very lenient. At the end of the day, you might as well ask because the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. You will never know unless you ask.
How Can You Get to This Cricket Ground?
The best way to reach this iconic stadium is by taking the metro. The closest station to this stadium is the Delhi Gate Metro Station, which is on the violet line of the Delhi Metro. This station is situated just 500 metres away from the venue, so you don’t have a long walk once you get off the metro. You can also stop at the ITO metro station, but you will have a longer walk to the stadium as this station is around 1.7km away.
Of course, if you do not want to get a train, you can also get a bus to the stadium. The buses that serve this station are route numbers 307, 273, 307A, 502, 423, and 722. So, as you can see, there are plenty of public transport options that you can take.
If you don’t want to take a train or a bus, then you can get a taxi there for a reasonable price.
When you have finished watching the match, there are plenty of other attractions that you can go and see in Delhi. For example, if it is your first time in this wonderful city, then you really must go and see the Feroz Shah Kotla Fort, the National Gandhi Museum, the Gandhi Memorial Hall, Raj Ghat, Swaminarayan Akshardham, the Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, the Sunder Nursery, the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb.
When it comes to accommodation, you have plenty of options to choose from in Delhi. Whether you are after a standard three-star hotel where you just go to sleep at the end of a long day or a luxurious five-star hotel where you can pamper yourself for the duration of your stay, you can find exactly what you are looking for close to the stadium and at reasonable prices.