The cricket crowd at Chennai has been called, in all forms of media and by all sorts of “personalities,” as a very knowledgeable and sporting crowd. Maybe that is why they have left the Chepauk stadium still standing, never mind the millions of rupees the national and state cricket bodies have made off it by just promising cricket without delivering for the past three years.
Today’s continuing rain, as well as the cloudy outlook that seems to promise more rain over the next few days, has effectively washed away any chances there might have been of a good game of cricket. And yet, hope springs eternal in the Chennaivaasi’s mind, as he (and/or she) swells the coffers of our cricket associations, whose custodians are smiling even in the rain – after all, each match washed out means more money earned without too much trouble. What’s a couple of pesky court cases by no-name busybodies and a few gently speculative media reports when you get a few million (30, for the one day international that never was against South Africa) rupees in the bargain.
There is no denying that the Chepauk stadium is a good cricket venue, and one that has seen many good matches and performances, even record-breaking ones, in the past. Unfortuantely, it has lost its lustre – what venue can retain it when it does not host any more matches? Any stadium is only as good as the matches it stages, and without those, there is no excuse to keep such a white elephant alive.
The Chepauk stadium is a white elephant in more than one sense – maintaining it costs mammoth sums of money I’m sure. From another angle, the stadium takes up so much prime real estate to what end? Staging international matches that never happen?
It is time we moved on, built a small memorial to it, and convert the space into the much-needed State Secretariat.