After hosting the two IPL matches here quite successfully, the second largest venue in the country, the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium, could host an international match soon.
With the state association set to become a full member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in September, having spent five years as an associate member, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh is keen that Raipur becomes an international venue.
“The IPL matches have definitely helped in putting Chhattisgarh on the cricketing map. From next season, we will be having our own Ranji Trophy team too. I’ve spoken to Rajeev [Shukla, BCCI official and IPL chairman] and told him that we’re ready to host Test matches also,” Raman said on Wednesday.
Aman Kumar Singh, secretary to the chief minister, said that Raipur was in line to host one of the seven India-Australia ODIs scheduled for October. “We are the first association that has got the right to host an IPL match before getting full membership. We’ve got positive feelers from the Board that we might get an ODI against Australia,” he said. Raman said that Chhattisgarh was keen to shed its image of a Naxalite infected zone.
“This stadium was just a shell, and we’ve completed the work to get it matchready in a record 45 days,” he said. “Chhattisgarh has done well in sports like basketball, boxing and volleyball, and we have been able to attract young kids from the tribal areas.”
Regarding the model the state plans to use for promoting sporting culture, the CM said: “We are focusing heavily on Olympic sports, and the plan is to have specialised academies for each of them. We are the next hosts for the National Games.
“We have tried to get industry linkages for each sport – for example Monnet Ispat for boxing – and we have asked them to invest up to Rs 10 crore, given them land and are letting them develop the infrastructure.”