It all started in 1983 when first time, a star studded team of Rest of India and Ranji Trophy Champion team came to Rajkot to play in Irani Trophy game here in Rajkot. It was a huge event for Rajkot as most of the players of World cup winning team under Kapil Dev came for this game and enjoyed the “hospitality of kathiawad” which can be termed as USP of this place. On October 7, 1986 Rajkot hosted its first ODI when India played against Australia at RMC ground. Since then many ODIs have been played in Rajkot and cricket loving people of this region have thoroughly enjoyed each of this exciting game.

With the efforts of Mr. Niranjan Shah and the SCA, Rajkot now will become a centre where all the formats of the game will regularly be played. We already had ODI and T-20 international cricket here in Rajkot for long time. However the most important news of the current affair is that Rajkot will now be a Test Centre and also an IPL centre. Double bonanza…isn’t it!!!

Saurashtra Cricket Association has taken huge strides in last couple of decades, not only in bringing top class cricket to the people of Rajkot and Saurashtra but also in developing cricket in this region and producing Top class cricketers. Rajkot being the head quarter of Saurashtra, presently has three well equipped grounds where first class games and all BCCI games are regularly being played for long time.  Mr.Niranjan Shah and SCA are always very keen that more and more facilities are imparted on each of this venue. It is also very exciting and encouraging news for Saurashtra region people that SCA is developing another venue in Rajkot where more grounds will be operational from next season.

SCA had days when all ODIs were conducted on RMC ground for several years before the dream project of Mr Niranjan Shah turned in to a beautiful reality. We had first day-night ODI game on amazing SCA stadium at Khandheri on 11th January 2013. The stadium looked so beautiful in lights that it cannot be described in words. And then we had a T-20 international game on 10th October 2013 on the same venue between India and Australia. People witnessed an exciting finish to that game where India chased down 200 plus runs and won the game. It was party time throughout the game.

To be a Test Centre is a huge achievement and accomplishment for SCA and Rajkot in terms of organizing the oldest format of this game. I am sure people are already looking forward to it, as very soon they will witness the first test match at Rajkot. The traditional cricket runs in the blood of the people of this Land where the Great Ranji belongs.

Meanwhile we will have IPL games in 2015 only.  It is a matter of great pride for all Saurashtrian that the top Corporate of this country are choosing Rajkot as one of their team’s base and it will be known as a team-Rajkot. One can imagine that we all will be shouting, screaming and cheering for our own team in IPL now.

It is a moment for all of us to cherish and be proud that our own city will now be on the Map of all formats of cricket across all events.

Let the party begin…..

- By Prakash Bhatt
P.B. (Prakash Bhatt is prominent and famous Cricketer from Saurashtra. He has played 51 first class matches and scored 3300 runs. He has been captain for Ranji Trophy team of Saurashtra. He played in Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy for West Zone. He also played professional cricket in England and Kenya. Presently, he is official BCCI match referee.)