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KPL T20: Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad which was turned into a hospital by the earthquake

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KPL-Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad which was turned into a hospital by the earthquake
KPL-Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad which was turned into a hospital by the earthquake

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a beautiful place through the window of your room which is often covered with clouds, the river below, and the magnificent cricket ground a short distance away. Scene

The windows of the hotel rooms of the players participating in the Kashmir Premier League, which starts this evening at the Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad, are showing a similar scene. Players can not only see the stadium through the hotel windows but also the beautiful tourist spot of Pirchanasi on the hill in front and the view of the Jhelum River below.

Anyone you talk to about this stadium will definitely say that its name will be written in the list of the most beautiful stadiums in the world. But when Malik Arif from Layyah dreamed of the Kashmir Premier League, perhaps no one could have imagined that all the matches of the league would be played in the same stadium.

From Gujranwala to Nandipur, the earthen pitches, fine grass and the LED floodlights in the brand new-looking stadium make it on par with any national cricket ground. However, the story of this stadium, located near the President’s House in the capital Muzaffarabad, is perhaps slightly different from that of any other stadium.

When the earthquake destroyed the stadium

In 1985, the Pakistan-administered Kashmir Sports Board awarded the site for the Muzaffarabad Stadium. Aizaz Naseem, the then director-general of the sports board, bought the site from locals for the stadium instead of the university grounds, but construction did not begin for several years.

Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad in 1985
Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad in 1985

Tanveer Ahmed Mughal, who has spent his entire life in the city, played his first cricket match for the school at the same ground in 1996. Today Tanveer is the Manager of Cricket Operations here. Telling the story of this ground, he said that these moments are like a memorial for our Kashmiri children and youth as this stadium, its dressing room is going to be shared with national and international players.

Describing the history of the stadium, he says, “In 2003, the ground here was turned into a stadium and its buildings began to be built. Then in 2005, when the work was in its final stages, an earthquake struck Kashmir.”

The quake devastated the stadium as much as any other building.

The 2005 earthquake may never be forgotten, and the kind of devastation that took place in Pakistan-administered Kashmir destroyed the city’s hospitals.

In such a situation, an international NGO ICRC has set up a hospital here to help in the treatment of earthquake victims.

Over time, some cricketers and the sports board turned their attention to the stadium and tried to finalize it. In 2011, Saleem Butt, a former minister, played a key role in making the ground a first-class ground.

As a result of this hard work, Pakistan Cricket Board started holding its matches on this ground. “At that time there was a pavilion on the ground which was completed by the sports board a few years ago,” says Tanveer.

Routine work is still going on at this ground on a regular basis. Yasir Malik, a curator busy with his work there, is as happy as anyone else. “We had never seen such an environment before, it was a ruin, we played in the rocks,” he says.

“I worked hard to build the ground, we didn’t have the machinery before, we have everything today,” he told the CricKhiladi.

“The ground was not suitable for international players to play here. The ground has been leveled for the last four or five months,” he said.

Lahore Qalandar wakes up Ndol Stadium

Even before Arif Malik’s desire to hold the Kashmir League within Kashmir, Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandar had come here and organized a talent hunt program for the youth of the region.

At that time about 35,000 Kashmiri youth had come here to try their luck. Salman Irshad of Rawalpindi, four hours away from Muzaffarabad, also took rent from his mother and reached Muzaffarabad.

“Trials were also taking place in Mirpur at the time, but Muzaffarabad was relatively close to Rawalpindi,” he told the CricKhiladi. I got on the bus and reached the stadium early in the morning. I waited for my turn from nine in the morning to three in the evening. ”

“When I bowled, Lahore Qalandars coach Aqib Javed told me that I bowled at 145 kmph, ninety miles. So I got selected and became a part of Lahore Qalandar.

Today, four years have passed and Salman Irshad, the first Kashmiri to play in the Pakistan Super League, now plays first-class cricket. He says that until the day before the selection, he did not think that this would be his future.

“I had no future in cricket before, I was a student,” he says. In Murree, Rawalakot, and other hilly areas, it is very difficult to play cricket without a ground.

“When I came home from school, we used to play cricket in the neighborhood. Sometimes in a field, on high and low paths and on pug poles, when there was a short, we would spend a lot of time looking for the ball.”

But this time, when the KPL trials took place in January, Irshad was among the selectors. Out of thousands of boys, 300 boys were initially selected.

Salman Irshad said that in four years, this stadium has changed a lot and it looks great. Muzaffarabad’s Nadol Stadium looks like a stadium in Blacktown, Australia, hopefully, there will be a successful KPL tournament.

Salman Irshad will represent Mirpur Royals in this tournament. There are six teams in the tournament out of which there are five Kashmiri in each team and two Kashmiri will participate in each team in the playing XI. Overseas Kashmiris are also among them.

KPL was not allowed trials

According to Tanveer Mughal, the first talk of KPL was a few years ago but then when things are settled, understand that the restoration and renovation work of the stadium on a war footing has started and now it is ready for ‘Kashmir Premier League’. ۔

KPL 2021 at Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad
KPL 2021 at Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad

However, this path was not so easy. Tanveer Mughal says that the former sports minister had opposed the KPL and it was in January 2021 when he refused to provide ground for the trials.

When the federal government was contacted, the ground was found and the condition in which it was found was critical. Trials for KPL were held at Mirpur and University Ground. “It made the ground outfield great and made the square of the five pitches completely new. In addition to grossing, all the requirements for a standard stadium, including a dressing room, were met.

15,000 spectators in the stadium

Malik Arif explains that the area of ​​Nadol Stadium is equal to that of Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The only difference is that the seating capacity here is not 25,000 but 15,000. That is about three and a half thousand, the same number of people are allowed to sit in the stadium and watch cricket.

Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad
Nadol Cricket Stadium in Muzaffarabad

Players will travel to the stadium by road this time, but the management of a nearby five-star hotel has suggested that it could provide a chairlift to get to the ground, a distance of about 700 km. Will be limited to meters.

“India has made it an international league”

KPL director Tanveer Khan says, “India has made this league an international league by urging international players not to participate in it.” Four English players have refused, but our international players are in the back. Because of this situation, he says

“When I first saw the stadium in February this year, I knew there was still a lot of work to be done,” said Tanveer, who has previously served as a sports psychologist for the Pakistani team. Shahriar Khan Afridi, the chairman of the Kashmir Committee, was very supportive.” It’s been a great experience, I can’t say anything right now, I can’t judge the performances, but when this festival is set to go on the TV screens, you will see. ‘

“We’ve had the ground for 13 years, using the latest technology,” he says. The floodlights are the ones in Sydney and Melbourne, the soil of Nandipur was brought. Pakistan’s number one curator Riaz will be hired for two months. The leveling of the ground and the planting of grass also helped and at the moment the green stadium is ready for play.

It has been reported that the Kashmir Premier League will use it for three months a year and ordinary clubs will use it for the remaining nine months.

What can pitches be helpful for?

Referring to pitches and boundaries, Tanveer Mughal said, “The area of ​​five pitches is 80/50. A pitch is ten feet wide. The basic boundary is 85 meters from the center pitch to the fence but in T20 it starts at 55 and the average boundary is 95 to 75.

According to pitch curator Yasir Malik, the pitches are new and now they are bouncy and there is hope for a good score.

How much did it cost to shape the stadium?

In response to this question, Tanveer Mughal said, The management’s report on the expenses incurred on this stadium has not been released yet, but the cost is in crores. The floodlights alone cost Rs 15.16 crore. More than Rs 50 crore was spent on repairing and renovating the building,” he said.

There is a lot of talk about this event in Pakistan and in Kashmir under its administration and there is a lot of enthusiasm.

Salman Irshad says that he has received messages from people from both sides of Kashmir since I was first selected for PSL from Lahore Qalandar.

KPL 2021 Updates
KPL 2021 Updates

He says, “Throughout this period, Facebook has been contacting people across Kashmir in a friend request. He says that whenever people from all over the region meet him while playing cricket in Australia, they say it is from our Kashmir.

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