The spike in Covid cases in neighbouring Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh has put the health authorities on high alert even as 40,000 spectators are set to watch the first day of the pink-ball Test at the new Motera Stadium.
“All the enclosures have been sanitised. Hand sanitisers will be available aplenty. Face masks are mandatory. There will be a gap of one seat between two spectators. A total of eight medical kiosks have been set up inside the stadium complex for the fans.
The kiosks will have a total of six doctors and 12 nurses. If someone is detected with temperature etc., he/she will be taken to the kiosks. Three ambulances will be stationed, two for the public and one for the players,” Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) joint-secretary Anil Patel said.
Tickets are priced between Rs 300 and Rs 2,500 per day. And to keep this 110,000-seat “world-class structure” sparkling clean, the GCA has even banned pan and gutka inside the complex.
The playing hours for the day-night Test has been set from 2.30 pm to 10 pm. The GCA secretary informed that Covid-linked night curfew in Ahmedabad has been starting at 11 pm, instead of 10 pm from February 15. “The local authorities have changed the night curfew hours from February 15. It will help the fans,” he said.
“It’s a matter of pride for us,” says Vijay Patel, 60, the former Gujarat Ranji coach who has been watching cricket at Motera since 1983 when the venue hosted its first ever Test, between India and West Indies.
“The stadium has its own attraction. The day-night Test hugely adds to the excitement. Both combined, this is different. For a routine game, maybe I wouldn’t have come,” says Ajay Purohit, 26, who is watching cricket from the stands for the first time.
Even India captain Virat Kohli appears to have been taken in by the venue. “It does play on your mind. We would love for that atmosphere to be present and make life more difficult for the opposition,” he said.