The Wankhede Stadium, which can be found in Mumbai, was built in 1974 and has a spectator capacity of just over 33,000. It is the home ground for the Mumbai cricket team and the Mumbai Indians. Since its construction, this cricket stadium has hosted 20 ODIs, 5 T20Is, and 25 test matches, but it hasn’t hosted an international match for nearly two years now. Intrigued? Do you want to find out more about one of the most famous stadiums in India? If so, just keep on reading.
The History of the Wankhede Stadium
There have been test matches in Mumbai at three different stadiums. The Bombay Gymkhana stadium was used in 1933 for the first test match in India against England. Once World War II finished, the Brabourne Stadium was used to host 17 tests.
The Wankhede Stadium was constructed due to a dispute between the Bombay Cricket Association and the Cricket Club of India about the allocation of tickets for matches. This dispute became even more severe after the India v England test in 1973.
Under the initiative of Seshrao Krisnarao Wankhede, the secretary of the BCA and a politician, a new stadium was built in South Bombay. It took just six months to build and was open in time to host the final test match of the West Indies’ 1975 tour of India. It, if you haven’t already guessed, was named after Mr. Wankhede himself. Since its construction, it has become the main cricket ground in the city.
India got their first test win here in 1976 when they played New Zealand in the first of three test matches. They bowled the Kiwis out for 141 in their second innings to win that match by 162 runs.
When it was announced that the 2011 Cricket World Cup was going to be hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, it was decided that the stadium should be redeveloped so that it was more modern and provided the spectators with a lot more comfort. For example, the roof was made so that it is heat resistant and the beam supports were removed so that all spectators would have a good view of the action. Exhaust fans were stuck on the roof to suck out hot air, allowing the cooler westerly breeze to flow in. To finish it off, more toilets were added, and a number of food courts were built.
While the stadium was undergoing its renovation, it was made unavailable for international and domestic cricket. Therefore, to make sure that the Mumbai Cricket Association didn’t miss out on matches, and to keep the peace with the CCI, matches were moved to Brabourne Stadium until the construction was complete.
Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, and Vijay Merchant all have stands named after them at this stadium. All three players are from Mumbai and are three of the greatest cricketers that the city has produced.
The Wankhede Stadium is close to the sea, which means that swing bowlers get quite a bit of assistance early on. The pitch is made up of red soil, which means that there is a consistent bounce. A lot of runs have traditionally been scored here, but there is some assistance to the spinners later on in the game. This is a pitch that has a little bit of something for everyone, which means that matches are always great fun to watch here.
Some of the Most Entertaining Matches That Have Been Played at This Stadium?
- India V South Africa in 2015: The was the fifth match of a five-match ODI series and both teams had won two matches each, meaning that this was a winner takes it all scenario. The toss was won by South Africa and they decided to have a bat first on what looked to be a flattish wicket. They went on to score 438 from their 50 overs thanks to centuries from Faf du Plessis (133), AB de Villiers (119) and Quinton de Kock (109). Kagiso Rabada then picked up 4 wickets to help bowl India out for just 224, meaning South Africa won by 214 runs. This was only the second time in ODI history that three players in the same team scored a century.
- South Africa V England in 2016: India hosted the 2016 T20 World Cup, with four matches being played at the Wankhede Stadium. This was the most exciting one by far. South Africa batted first and scored 229 from their 20 overs, thanks to a quick fire 58 from Hashim Amla. In reply, England managed to pass their target with just two balls and two wickets remaining. Joe Root was the Player of the Match as his hit 83 runs from just 44 balls.
- India V Sri Lanka in 2011: The Wankhede Stadium hosted the final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka batted first and managed to score 274 runs from their 50 overs. In reply, India managed to chase the total down with 10 balls to spare thanks to a 97 from Gautam Gambhir and a 91* from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This was their second World Cup title.
- India V West Indies in 2013: This match was always going to be an emotional one as Sachin Tendulkar had announced that this was going to be his last game of cricket. India bowled the West Indies out in their first innings for just 182 runs thanks to a 5-wicket haul from Pragyan Ojha. When it was India’s time to bat, they notched up 495 runs thanks to centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara (113) and Rohit Sharma (111*). Tendulkar pitched in with 74 runs. India then bowled the visitors out for 187, with Ojha picking up another 5-wicket haul, for 187, meaning that they won the match by an innings and 126 runs.
Some Fun Statistics to Enjoy
- In 2016, India scored 631 runs against England thanks to a century from Murali Vijay (136), a double hundred from Virat Kohli (235) and a century from Jayant Yadav (104 ). Ravichandran Ashwin picked up 6 wickets during England’s second innings to bowl England out for 195, meaning that India won the game by an innings and 36 runs. India’s 631 is the highest score this stadium has seen.
- The 438 runs that South Africa scored against India in 2015 is the highest ODI total that has been scored at this ground.
- Sunil Gavaskar has scored the most test runs at this venue. In the 11 matches that he played (20 innings), he scored 1122 runs (5 centuries and 3 half-centuries) at an average of 56.10.
- Sachin Tendulkar has scored the most ODI runs at this stadium. In the 11 matches that he has played, he has scored 455 runs (1 century and 1 half-century) at an average of 41.36.
- Anil Kumble has picked up the most test wickets at this stadium. In the 7 matches that he played (14 innings), he has gotten 38 wickets an average of 21.86.
- Venkatesh Prasad has collected the most ODI wickets at this ground. In the 6 matches that he has played here, he has gotten 15 wickets at an amazing average of 14.86.
- Ian Botham has the best test bowling figures at this stadium. In 1980, he picked up 7 wickets for 48 runs with an economy of 1.84. Harbhajan Singh has got the same figures, but he is below Botham due to the fact that he bowled 15 balls more.
- Adil Rashid has conceded the most runs in a single test innings at this stadium. In 2016, he conceded 192 runs from the 55.3 overs that he bowled. India won the match by an innings and 36 runs.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar has conceded the most runs in a single ODI innings at this ground. In the aforementioned match against South Africa in 2015, he conceded 106 runs from his 10 overs and only picked up one wicket in the process.
Should You Watch a Game at This Stadium?
The Wankhede Stadium is a fantastic stadium, one of the best in world cricket, so if you are in the whereabouts when a match is being played, you really should make an effort to purchase a ticket and go and watch it.
However, if you are in Mumbai and there is no match scheduled to be played, you will be happy to hear that the Wankhede Stadium, unlike many others in India, is open to the public. You can visit any day of the week from 11.30-19.30. However, if you are in Mumbai in the summer, we highly recommend that you go in the evening so that you avoid the heat of the midday sun.
Is it Simple to Get to?
The Wankhede Stadium, just like most of the best stadiums in India, is easily accessible by public transport.
If you want to go by bus, you can get route numbers 1, 507 LTD, 105 AC, 511 LTD, and 517 LTD. The Vashi Highway station is just 300 metres away from the stadium, while the Apna Bazar Sector 17 station is just over 400 metres away.
If you are planning to get the station using the train, you can get the HR or the LDS. Churchgate Station is the closest station to the stadium (only a few hundred metres away). The HR train takes the purple line, while the LDS takes the pink line.
After you have watched the match or finished your tour, you might be wondering what else there is for you to do in Mumbai, Well, we are about to list some of the attractions that you must see while visiting this fantastic city. For instance, you should visit the Gateway of India, the Elephanta Caves, the Red-Carpet Wax Museum, the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Water Kingdom, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and the Mount Mary Basilica.
Of course, if you don’t live in Mumbai, you are going to need somewhere to sleep during your stay. Thankfully, you will not have too much hassle with this as there are just so many different hotels that you can choose from. No matter what type of hotel you are looking for, Mumbai will have the perfect one for you.