cricket vs hockey

In Ranchi at 4pm on Friday, Jharkhand will unveil history.

In the glorious presence of two pitch titans ' Teams India and England ' it will officially open its magnificent international cricket stadium, built at a staggering Rs 180 crore, while the world will watch in speechless wonder.

What makes the inauguration extra special is that a day later, the rightful King of Jharkhand, aka M.S. Dhoni, will lead his boys in blue for the first time in this home venue that living legends like David Boon have saluted as "The Ground".

The chief guests on the occasion are governor Syed Ahmed and BCCI president N. Srinivasan, while three former chief ministers will don the mantle of guests of honour.

The much-hyped presence of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who also happens to be the president of that state's cricket association, is unlikely. Senior BJP leader Raghubar Das confirmed that Modi was preoccupied with another function in Surat.

The JSCA has been clever not to print any names on invitations for the inauguration sent out to 2,000-odd dignitaries, including politicians, bureaucrats, police officers, mediapersons and its own officials.

On the match-eve, the journey of JSCA in turning this stadium into Ranchi's pride will be showcased before the audience in the form of an audio-visual presentation to which actor-presenter Kabir Bedi will lend his distinct baritone.

Shabbir Hussain, a senior official of event management company White Horse that is organising the opening ceremony, said that the function would begin around 4pm and continue till 8pm.

It will have two segments. The first will see unveiling of the stadium and the narrative by Bedi, besides welcoming of VIPs and other guests, and their speeches.

The second leg of the programme, beginning 6pm, will hear playback singers Harshdeep Kaur and Shahdab. "The songs will be interspersed with nagada sessions by Nandlal Nayak and troupe. As many as 120 nagadas and 100 dancers will take centre stage," said an official.

"The opening tomorrow is expected to be an electrifying mix of emotions, seasoned with high-octane cheers and dazzling fireworks," a senior functionary of JSCA told The Telegraph.

Cheers and fireworks are understood. What are the emotions involved? With a modest smile, the functionary continued that JSCA had covered a long and taxing journey in transforming the site, which was an HEC area, into a world-class stadium. "It wasn't an easy task," he said.

From litigation to agitation and politicking ' hurdles in all forms and sizes tried to raise their ugly heads and stall the project. But finally, the foundation of the stadium was laid on June 19, 2009, and it successfully hosted its maiden first-class tie in November 2010, which in a way was a litmus test for future international matches.

Two years down the line, the virgin greens of JSCA International Stadium Complex in Dhurwa is all set to host the highest of all gentleman's games ' an ODI led by Dhoni on one side and Alastair Cook on the other ' on Saturday.

Limited passes for the match has, however, earned the ire of Jharkhand's netas. Each MLA was reportedly given two passes, which has "hurt their ego". Former minister Mathura Prasad Mahto is said to have returned his on Wednesday. Many others are following suit.

Do you share Ranchi's pride in the international stadium?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com

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