ICL's quickfix stadium at Panchkula

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/panchkulastadium.jpg' class='caption'> In just a month the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula just outside Chandigarh has been spruced up to meet Internationla standards.

Updated: December 06, 2007 14:58 IST
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The Indian cricket league is a rebel tournament, which means they could not use any BCCI affiliated stadiums as venues for their two-week long tournament.

The ICL has had to fight the stronghold the BCCI has over stadiums and cricket venues in the country to be able to conduct the event.

And finally they zeroed in on the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula just outside Chandigarh. In just a month the rundown venue has been spruced up to meet Internationla standards.

Laloo Prasad Yadav was kind enough to offer the Railways stadiums to the teams of the Indian Cricket League for practice. But they still didn't have a stadium for the actual tournament.

The organisers were so desperate that they were willing to get the tournament started, even if it was in a municipal park! Luckily the situation wasn't that bad.

The Haryana Urban Develoment Authority gave the league the Tau Devi Lal stadium on a 10-year lease to be used for 50 days in a year. And international curator Philip Russell was rushed in to take charge.

When Phil Russell came here for the first time, all he found was a pile of rubble - that after the stadium was finalised as the ICL's venue. To convert that pile of ruble into a platform for a bunch of international stars was certainly a big challenge.

"When I came there were no stands, no camera positions, it was more like a university ground. But it had a good shape, whoever designed it has done a great job. Its not the most perfect now, but the groundstaff here has helped tremendously," said Russell.

Apart from the lease rent, the ICL had to install floodlights, spruce up the stands, dressing rooms and the outfield. Drying facilities have also been taken care of. So there's a host of international stars, but does the stadium, which has hardly hosted any first class matches, live up to international standards?

"I've worked a lot on Kingsmead, in Durban. The only difference is in the outfield. It would be great to work here off-season, you still need some more work here," he said.

These are early days for the ICL, and there's a long way to go. But if these are the results achieved in less than a month, by next year this stadium could certainly be Panchkula's pride.

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