Relaid Wankhede track passes muster ahead of WC ties

Mumbai: The relaid playing strip at the refurbished Wankhede Stadium, which is to host the World Cup final on April 2, on Saturday passed muster with the umpires
following the first competitive tie played at the ground since May, 2008.

"The wicket behaved beautifully," remarked umpires Vilas Karhadhad and Vishwas Nerurkar after officiating in the semi-final of Mumbai Cricket Association-conducted T20 Trophy tie between Fort Vijay and Mumbai Police.

The stadium built at the then Lloyd`s Reclamation ground in South Mumbai in 1974 was taken up for total revamp in May, 2008 after hosting the last home tie of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians.

After facing a lot of negative publicity in the wake of PILs, including a three-month stoppage of work at the Sunil Gavaskar Pavilion on the east side - the most popular and cheap stand - adjacent to the Western Railway suburban track, the stadium hosted its first match on Saturday.

Curator Sudhir Naik was a relieved man after the match and said a lot of hard work had gone into making the ground fit for hosting cricket matches, especially in the prestigious World Cup.

"There were a lot of difficulties that were overcome. We were handed over the central square for preparing the pitches by L and T (Larsen and Toubro which was in charge of the refurbishment) in March and work commenced. We got the outfield in pieces to work upon and the last of the cranes left the ground only last month," he said.


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