Wankhede Stadium - The ‘Mecca of Indian Cricket' - in numbers
It is said that Lord’s is the Mecca of cricket in the sense that it is one of those stadiums where cricketers always look to do something special. One of the greatest regrets that every Sachin Tendulkar aficionado has is that the Little Master could never score a century at the holy ground of cricket.
But, well, India has its own holy stadium – one where the great Sachin Tendulkar established himself as the greatest batsman of his era. One, which according to Sourav Ganguly, is the Mecca of Indian cricket – the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
Here are some facts about one of India’s most prominent stadiums ever:
1 – The first Test at the Wankhede was played on 23rd January 1975 between India and West Indies, which the latter won by 201 runs.
2 – India won its second ever World Cup at the Wankhede stadium after beating Sri Lanka in the final of the 2011 World Cup on the 2nd of April.
6 – Ravi Shastri hit 6 sixes in an over in a first-class game where he went on to score the fastest double hundred back then, a record that still stands to this day.
15 – The record of the highest number of wickets by a single bowler at the Wankhede is held by Venkatesh Prasad, who has 15 scalps to his name at the holy ground of India.
38 – With 38, Anil Kumble has the honour picking up the most Test wickets at the Wankhede.
72 – The renovated light towers stand at 72m tall, which makes it the tallest in the continent!
93 – The lowest total in Tests at the Wankhede was scored by Australia against India when they bundled out for 93 during the 2004-05 season.
115 – Bangladesh have the dubious honour of being the team to score the lowest runs in ODIs at the Wankhede when they were dismantled for 115 in 1998.
200 – Sachin Tendulkar played his last ever international game at the Wankhede stadium on 16th November, 2013, when he finished his career playing his 200th Test against West Indies.
298 – The highest partnership in an international game at the Wankhede came in the 1986/87 season when Ravi Shastri and Dilip Vengsarkar scored a combined 298 runs against Australia in a Test match.
438 – South Africa almost broke Sri Lanka’s record for the most number of runs in a single ODI innings when they smashed the Indian bowlers to score 438 runs in a match in 2015.
631 – This has been set quite recently as Virat Kohli and his men hammered the England bowlers to score the most runs in a single Test innings at the Wankhede with a mammoth total of 631 runs.
33108 - The capacity of the Wankhede Stadium. The iconic stadium can house over 33,000 spectators and when Team India plays at the stadium, the vociferous crowd can be intimidating for the opponents.
The making of India’s cricket Mecca
The Wankhede was not always the spectacle it is now and it underwent major renovation in preparation of the 2011 World Cup. The renovation helped it become a truly state of the art arena, but it didn’t happen without it’s share of hurdles, with lighting and project execution being the two major issues.
In the lighting design, the field of play was falling under the shadow due to a huge canopy over the spectator's stand while the location of four masts weren't symmetrical to each other. However, the execution of the project also brought some problems with it, namely the lack of space in Mumbai for the movement of crane and the lack of space of storing materials on site – which actually hampered the execution about 20 times.
The solutions to these hiccups were wisely moderated by the designers at Bajaj Electricals Ltd., as they worked relentlessly for 15 days to solve the lighting issues while also satisfying all design parameters. For the execution part, Bajaj Electricals developed a special lifting device on the site in order to install the huge structure without any crane.
And they did it quite brilliantly. Indeed, the Wankhede has the tallest lights in the continent and every cricket fan from India dreams of watching a match at the iconic stadium under lights.
With the help of Bajaj Electricals, the Wankhede was fully prepared to host the World Cup when it arrived in 2011. It was icing on the cake that India lifted the World Cup at the stadium in Sachin’s final World Cup appearance – a fitting end to a sensational career.
When Geoffrey Boycott took a dig at Ganguly for taking off his shirt at the Lord’s, Dada responded to him by saying that Flintoff did the same in Mumbai before he did it at Lord’s. Boycott, then, responded by saying that Lord is the Mecca of cricket, but Dada is not someone who let’s go without a quirky fight, he said: “Lord's is your Mecca, and Wankhede is ours!"
And Bajaj Electricals helped light up that Mecca, one that shines brightest in the bustling city of Mumbai.