Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One Day Cricket Match: Silchar's unfulfilled dream.......

India batsman Virat Kohli during an exhibition match in Silchar
One of the few landmarks that stand out in the otherwise ramshackled Silchar town is the Satindra Mohan Dev Memorial Stadium, more popularly known as the District Sports Association (DSA) ground. 

Located in the heart of the town, this 22,000 capacity stadium boasts of international standard floodlights, indoor practice facilities, a swimming pool, gymnasium etc. The drainage of the ground has been spruced up by installing state of the art drainage facilities and a modern media enclosure has also been constructed.  
A floodlit SM Dev Stadium. Photos: The Telegraph

In fact, with the exception of the Sarusajai Sports Complex in Guwahati and the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal which were constructed to host the National Games, this stadium is easily the best sports facility in the entire north eastern region.

It is a glowing example of what can be achieved if the political leadership desires to swing into action.  Former Union Cabinet Minister Santosh Mohan Dev has contributed a great deal towards the development of this multi discipline facility. In fact, many times, Dev promised the people of the town that a one day international match would be hosted by the stadium some day.
However, with the overall infrastructure of the town crumbling further with each passing day, this long cherished dream of the people may never be fulfilled. An international match cannot be hosted if the venue does not have quality hotels and adequate air connectivity. Due to Silchar’s poor infrastructure and battered connectivity, the town has not witnessed enough business development, which in turn has ensured, that good hotels are few in number and air connectivity is limited.    

With the exception of Hotel Borail View, there are no hotels in the star category. Air connectivity is also extremely limited, in fact, far less than the total number of seats such a massive event would demand. With the discontinuation of the Kingfisher Red services recently, the problem of poor connectivity has only become more acute. Moreover, with the dilapidated condition of the roads and bridges in the town, hosting a match here would cause embarrassment to the entire country. 

The stadium has hosted many high profile exhibition matches in the past involving both Indian and international stars, but failed to get a nod for hosting an official international match. In December, 2008, a friendly match was organised between Air India and ONGC to inaugurate the floodlights in the ground. Stars like Virat Kohli and Praveen Kumar participated in the match.  Even during this match, legendary all rounder Kapil Dev rued the lack of good hotels in the region.

The BHEL Cup between the Indian and Pakistani veterans held in 2005, the Ashok Malhotra benefit match held in 1995 and the Sunil Walson benefit match held in the early nineties are some of the other matches that featured top rung stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and others.

The sports starved people of the town throng the ground whenever any sporting event of some significance is organised. Therefore, in December 2005, when a women’s international match was played here between India and England, a full house greeted the players. Similarly, all Ranji, Deodhar or Duleep Trophy matches played here have run to packed stands. Even lesser BCCI run tournaments like the CK Nayudu Trophy or the Coochbehar Trophy are well received.

Participating Teams
January 8th,   1987
Ranji Trophy
Assam Vs Tripura
November 12th, 1994
Duleep Trophy
North Zone Vs West Zone
November 23rd, 2007
Ranji Trophy
Assam Vs Kerala
November 10th, 1994
Deodhar Trophy
North Zone Vs West Zone
January 15th, 2004
Deodhar Trophy
Central Zone Vs South Zone
January 27th, 2004
Deodhar Trophy
North Zone Vs West Zone

Now, with each passing day, the hope of Silchar hosting an ODI is getter dimmer. With the construction of a modern cricket stadium by the Assam Cricket Association nearing completion at Barsapara, Guwahati, the people of Silchar may have to contend with lower level tournaments only.  Moreover, the ICC guidelines for hosting of official matches are also getting more and more stringent.

In other sports too, the scenario is not very bright either. While the stadium has hosted many high profile domestic football tournaments like Santosh Trophy, Federation Cup and the I-League, it is unlikely to be chosen for any major international match due to the infrastructural inadequacies of the town.

Silchar always has had a very prestigious sporting tradition. The cricket teams from the district have done very well in the inter district Nuruddin Trophy. Local lad Prakash Bhagat is currently representing Assam in Ranji Trophy. Many footballers have also emerged from the town time and again.

Matches and tournaments of high standard create a vibrant sporting culture and encourage kids to take up sports. Unfortunately, due to the lackadaisical infrastructure of the town, many big ticket events are not coming here despite the presence of a quality stadium.

However, apart from the Satindra Mohan Dev Memorial Stadium and some adjoining grounds belonging to the local clubs, the town does not have any quality ground for the kids to play. Especially, the localities of new Silchar have been planned so haphazardly that there is no space left to develop another new sporting facility.

In a nutshell, the sports lovers of the town will continue to suffer because of the infrastructural malaises that exist here. This article has been published just to drive home the fact, that even the supposedly ancillary aspects of our lives such as sports and culture can suffer if the basic facilities are not improved. 


  1. You people are laying exceedingly unnecessary stress... what are you up to... do you like to manufacture a mini-china out of silchar... there are hell lot of other issues to lay your eyes upon... better confine yourself to the bounds of issues which are seriously nagging... such posts are indubitably amazing, perfectly written... but when we are in a sea of problems... our mind kind of lose the ability to get entertained by such glamorous but unworthy issues... such posts are annoying... they serve as rubbing salt into the wound.

  2. @Anonymous: We welcome your criticism. Thanks a lot for reading the blog. As fas as the issue of focusing on more important subjects is concerned, a better look on the blog would tell you that over the last one year, we have written about a range of very serious issues facing the people of the valley. We would welcome if you can also suggest a few more so that we can work on them.

    Apparently, ancillary aspects of life such as sports and culture are also closely connected with the overall development, infrastructure, economy of a region. In a backward society, these virtues of human existence can never flourish adequately. In this post we have tried to say that due to the poor infrastructure of the town, sports like many other sectors, is suffering.

  3. A city/town needs every thing from proper roads to shopping malls, park, stadium etc. So this article on Silchar's unfulfilled dream is justified

    Thanks to Concern for silchar team

    Silchar Today


Silchar through the Lense