It is appropriate that a venue designed and built to cater to cricket in the modern age is situated just off the magnificent Mumbai-Pune Expressway, on the outskirts of Pune city. The venue made its first-class debut in December 2011, and went on to make a tremendous impression during the IPL 2012, wherein it was the home ground of the Pune Warriors India. It hosted PWI’s eight home games, and the first Playoff encounter, during the tournament.
Among the venue’s many features is a statue of Prof. Dinkar Balwant Deodhar, the former Maharashtra captain, who led the state to two consecutive Ranji Trophy triumphs in the early 1940s.
The Maharashtra Cricket Association earlier staged international matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in the heart of Pune city. Ten ODIs were played at this venue, from 1984-85 to 2005-06. Interestingly, England figured in two of the first three ODIs at the venue. David Gower’s side of 1984-85 beat India by four wickets in a game that saw centuries by Dilip Vengsarkar (India) and Mike Gatting (England). Three years later, Gatting was in charge as England beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in a league game of the 1987 World Cup.
By far the most unforgettable game played at the venue was the 1996 World Cup league encounter between the West Indies and Kenya, on Leap Year Day. The Windies put Kenya in to bat and dismissed the African team for 166. The unthinkable then happened, as Kenya bowled the West Indies out for 93 in response.