The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium was built back in 1916, making it the third oldest cricket stadium in India. It has a capacity of 50,000, which means that it is one of the largest stadiums in the country as well. It is the home ground of the Chennai Super Kings and the Tamil Nadu cricket team. It has played host to a number of international matches, but there has been no international match played there since the 11th of November, 2018. If you would like to find out more about this iconic ground, keep on reading.
The History of M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
This stadium was originally known as the Madras Cricket Club Ground, before they decided to name it after a former BCCI president. However, despite this name change, many refer to the stadium as the Chepauk Stadium, which is the locality in which it is built. This is probably because it is less of a mouthful than its official name.
If you visit this stadium, one of the most fascinating things that you will realise is that the local supporters are completely unbiased. They are not too fussed about who wins the game, as long as they get to see some fantastic cricket. To give you an idea as to how sporting they are, when Pakistan won a test there in 1999 the whole ground stood up to applaud their performance. Naturally, Pakistan were shocked by this reaction and to show their respect to the response, they did a lap of honour. Furthermore, when Saeed Anwar scored 194 against India at the same stadium two years earlier, he was given a standing ovation from nearly every spectator in the crowd.
In June 2009, the stadium was renovated at a cost of ₹175 crore. Three new concrete stands were built alongside twenty-four hospitality boxes, while the old roofing that restricted the view of those sitting in the old stadium was replaced with conical roofing so that the view was no longer restricted. The stands are now at an angle of 36 degrees, which allows the sea breeze to flow in and the traditional swing to return.
In March 2015, it was ruled that the renovation did not meet health and safety standards and that the three new stands that were built must remain closed to the public until the issues are fixed.
They are still not to a satisfactory standard, so these three stands remain closed to the public to this very day. This means that 12,000 seats are not being put to good use.
Historic Cricket Games That Have Been Played at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
- India v England in 1951-52: India recorded their first test ever won at this ground when they defeated England by an innings and 8 runs. This was a great win as nobody had given them a chance against a very decent England side.
- India v Australia in 1986-87: This match ended in a tie, which is just the second time this has happened in the long history of test cricket.
- Madras v Mysore in 1934: The first Ranji Trophy match was ever played on this ground. A.G. Ram Singh picked up 11 wickets to lead Madras to victory on just the first day of play.
Some Other Fun Facts about This Cricket Stadium
- Sunil Gavaskar scored his 30th test century at this ground in 1983, breaking the great Don Bradman’s record of most test match centuries.
- Shane Warne, on the 15th October 2004, picked up his 533rd test wicket to become the leading wicket-taker in world cricket at that time.
- In April 2008, Virender Sehwag scored a whopping 319 against South Africa at this stadium. He reached his triple century in just 278 balls, which is the fastest in test history. He also became on the third player after Brian Lara and Donald Bradman to score two triple hundreds in test cricket. In the day’s play alone, he scored 257 runs which was the most runs scored by a single player in a single day of play since Denis Compton scored 273 runs against Pakistan in 1954.
- The legendary Sachin Tendulkar has scored more runs at this stadium than any other stadium in India. In the nine tests that he played here, he scored 876 runs at an average of 87.60.
- In the fifth test against England in 2016, Karun Nair hit 303* as India declared their innings on a staggering 759/7. Nair was the 6th youngest player to score 300 and just the second Indian (after Sehwag) to achieve this feat. Alastair Cook will remember this innings as he dropped him when he was on 34.
What’s the Best Time to Visit This Stadium?
If you are in Chennai and a match is being played here, then we really would recommend that you purchase a ticket to go and watch the action. Not only will you get to watch some great cricket, but you will also get to savour a fantastic atmosphere.
If you are unfortunate enough to be in Chennai when no match is scheduled to be played, you can still visit the stadium as they allow cricket fans to have a tour of this iconic stadium. You should allocate one hour for the tour, and you can embark on a tour anytime between 10.00 and 18.30.
If you are visiting Chennai when the weather is at its hottest, then we would recommend that you take a morning or evening tour so that you are not walking about the stadium during the hottest time of the day. You will not enjoy it as much if you are walking about in 40-43 degrees Celsius.
Is It Easy to Get to the Stadium?
The stadium is very easy to get to as it is very well served by buses and trains. There are three bus stations close to the stadium and these are Cheapauk Mrts Station (1-minute walk), Chepauk Bus Stop (6-minute walk), and Kosha Hospital (12-minute walk). The buses 21G, 27B EXT, and 21L will take you to these stops. You can also get the EMU LOCAL train to the stadium, which is on the blue line. The Chepauk Railway Station is the closest one to the stadium – when you get off here you will have just a short walk of about two minutes.
Once you have finished watching the cricket or having a tour of the stadium, you will be happy to hear that there are plenty of other attractions in the city that you can go and see. For example, there is the Chepauk Palace, Marina Beach, Kapleeshwarar Temple, Santhome Cathedral. Fort St. George, Parthasarathy Temple, and VGP Golden Beach. If you are in Chennai for the first time, you really must visit these attractions.
You will also find a number of quality hotels near the stadium at very affordable prices, so you can be certain that you will be able to enjoy all that this wonderful city has to offer without breaking the bank. Furthermore, you can explore to your heart’s content during the day safe in the knowledge that you will be able to put your feet up in a nice and relaxing environment come the end of the day.