On 9th November sharp at 9:00 AM, when Virat Kohli and Allaister Cook will toss the coin for the 1st Test Match of the India – England series to be played in our own back yard, it will not only be a historical but also an “emotional high” moment for all the cricket loving people of Saurashtra & Kutch Region.

In 1932 when India played its first ever Test Match on Lord's in England, His Highness Maharaja of Porbandar was a non-playing captain of the team, and Amar Singh from Rajkot was a member of the playing eleven. These two Saurastrians were part of the history of India’s first ever Test Match. And now in the Head Quarter of Saurashtra, on one of the best cricket stadium in the world, Rajkot will hold its 1st ever Test match- India playing against England in this region. What a beautiful coincidence!!!

It is a matter of great pride, achievement and accomplishment for SCA and Rajkot for becoming a Test match centre. It requires so many things to be correct and perfect in each of the various parameters which are mandatory for becoming a Test match venue. The parameters varies from ground & pitch, safety & security, accommodation & food, infrastructure & transportation, having proper liaison and hospitality…..and so many other things which only an efficient and professional set up can provide. There have been number of inspections from ICC, ECB and BCCI undertaken in last 6 to 8 months for this big event to get a “Go Ahead” nod from all the concerned Authorities.

The traditional cricket runs in the blood of the people of this Land where the Great Ranji belongs. Though the Great Ranjit Sinhji of Nava Nagar never played for India, but his records in international cricket and in the English county league makes him undoubtedly one of the “Greatest ever” of the game. No wonder the premium first class domestic tournament of BCCI carries the name- “Ranji Trophy”. So we can say- India and England cricket teams are coming to the land of Ranji to pay tribute to this great cricketer who represented England in 15 Test matches and played over 300 first class matches in England. And I am sure at the end of the game; both teams will be mighty pleased with the kind of reception, hospitality and care shown to them by all of us.

In last few years and especially in last 6-8 months Rajkot has seen a lot of cricket, may it be One Day International cricket matches or an IPL season of T-20 cricket being home ground for Gujarat Lions largely thanks to the whole hearted efforts of Mr. Niranjan Shah and the SCA.

Now it is our opportunity to witness a Test match cricket where the battle continues from session to session for five long days with hard toiling effort which exhibits lots of guts, resilience, patience, endurance and top level of skill.

So ladies and gentleman tighten up your seat belt and get ready & prepared for a fascinating game of the longest version of the game of cricket. May the best team win, but at a same time let’s wish Team India best wishes for this game on our own soil.

- By Prakash Bhatt
(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.)