Surat District Cricket Association (SADC) is set to host its first-ever set of international matches – a five-match T20I series between India and South Africa between September 24 and October 4. 12 pitches are being readied for the matches at Lalbhai Contractor Stadium.
It is a historic moment to savor for the Surat crowd as finally they will witness their star players live in action after a long wait. Three of the five matches will be played as day-night games under floodlights on September 29 and October 1 and 4.
“Twelve poles with 384 lights giving 1500 watt of electricity are ready to provide all required light international standard cricket,” Mayank Desai, treasurer of SDCA, said. “The two warm-up matches will be played before the five internationals to be played on September 24, 26, 29 and October 1 and 4. All international standards and required facilities are being set up. ”
Desai further said that BCCI pitch curators will visit oversee the preparation of the pitches.
SDCA has been demanding the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) to allow them to host international matches for the past 10 years. However, Surat never got to host an international game, as Ahmedabad was allotted all the state’s international fixtures by Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA). It was the visit of Rahul Dravid, who was mighty impressed with the facilities of the ground, that changed the venue’s fortunes.
The Lalbhai Contractor Stadium has a capacity to accommodate 8000 people and also can also temporarily arrange 20000 odd people on a makeshift basis.
The festive season for Surtis this year got a bit extra special and it would be interesting to see how the crowd lap up to this opportunity that has finally come their way.
“This is the beginning, like the first flight Surat airport received. In no time we have made 32 flights! More so, with proper live telecast of these matches on international sports channels, Surat will be able to showcase its potential and put up its case for future international matches strongly,” added Desai.
The T20I series will be followed by a three-match ODI series to be played in Baroda beginning on October 9.
South Africa are scheduled to arrive in Surat on September 16, and will kick off their tour with two T20 practice matches against Board President’s XI on September 20 and 22.
September 20: Board President’s XI vs South Africa, Surat
September 22: Board President’s XI vs South Africa, Surat
24 September: 1st T20I: India vs South Africa, Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Surat
26 September: 2nd T20I: India vs South Africa, Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Surat
29 September: 3rd T20I: (D/N) India vs South Africa, Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Surat
1 October: 4th T20I: (D/N) India vs South Africa, Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Surat
4 October: 5th T20I: (D/N) India vs South Africa, Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Surat
9 October: 1st ODI: India vs South Africa, Baroda
11 October: 2nd ODI: India vs South Africa, Baroda
14 October: 3rd T20I: India vs South Africa, Baroda
*This piece was originally published on 16 August, 2019, but has been edited following the announcement of fixtures on 23 August.