A lot of sports have indoor stadiums these days. Baseball, American Football, Tennis, etc. This is to ensure that the interruptions due to the weather are minimized and also so that the game can be played throughout the year. Cricket has been played in an indoor stadium before. Back in August 2000, during the Australian winter, Docklands Stadium hosted a three-match ODI series between Australia and South Africa. Cricket isn’t played in Australia in August but this series was possible only because there was an indoor stadium.
Given the hectic international cricket schedule these days, matches are being held all throughout the year. We recently saw a test match being played at Fatullah in Bangladesh held during the monsoon season. Only 184 overs of play were possible. About 60% of the possible overs in that test were lost due to rain. Due to scheduling constraints, India had to tour Bangladesh during that time. This just shows us how helpless we are when Mother Nature decides to come to the party.
BCCI is amongst the richest sports governing bodies in the world. Given how the climate is becoming unpredictable these days with unseasonal rains and extremely high temperatures during the summer; it isn’t a bad idea to invest in an indoor cricket stadium in India. BCCI could look at part funding of the same or tie up with a private developer to make it a reality.
We could have matches starting at 12 noon in the heat of April and May, and also during the monsoons in July and August. This could help BCCI host three IPL games in a day, play ODIs and even Test matches round the year. This assures cricket fans, broadcasters and players that matches won’t be interrupted due to weather conditions. It might sound far-fetched now but given the erratic weather patterns this could eventually happen.
Indoor stadiums can be used to host concerts, rallies and also to host other sports like Football. If the indoor stadium is made in a metropolitan city, it will surely be used round the year given the number of events that are being hosted every year these days. This would ensure that revenue is being generated throughout the year.
The idea of an indoor cricket stadium has never been explored in India. This is the right time to take it forward. Some of the older Cricket stadiums in India are yet to undergo a facelift. Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Chepauk Stadium in Chennai and the Eden Gardens in Kolkata have been recently rebuilt and/or renovated. The M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru was built in the ‘70s and has not been extensively renovated. It is centrally located and rain interruptions are common for cricket matches held in Bengaluru. An Indoor cricket stadium in its place should be explored as it can also be used as a venue for concerts and also for other sporting events.
We’ll have to wait and watch whether indoor stadiums become as common as day-night cricket or not. Do let us know in the comments below about what your thoughts on indoor stadiums.