Kandahar’s new cricket ground, compliments of India, was inaugurated in the provincial capital on Monday – 16 months after construction work began on phase one of the project.
The project entails three phases, including the pitch and stadium; an academy; and the guest house, gymnasium and swimming pool phase.
The cricket field was constructed on eighteen acres of land and has so far cost $618,000 USD, paid for by India.
Indian Ambassador to Kabul Manpreet Vohra, who attended the inauguration ceremony, praised Afghanistan for its cricket achievements and said his country was committed to further developing Kandahar’s cricket arena.
“This is my wish that this particular cricket stadium becomes the best, perhaps a flag-bearer, a trend-setter in Afghanistan. You have already heard we are committed to further development of this stadium, we are putting in another $360,0000 USD dollars to build a guest house and a gymnasium here,” said Vohra.
Meanwhile, Kandahar governor Zalmai Wesa said at the ceremony that they hope One Day International (ODI) matches will one day be held at the stadium.
“We are proud that one day we could witness international cricket matches at this stadium,” said Wesa.
In addition, cricket board officials from the south-west zone thanked India for funding the ground and said some work still needs to be finalized on the stadium but that this would be completed soon.
“We call on (our) friend India to build other parts of the stadium, including the swimming pool part,” said Masoud Rahmani, a cricket board official from the south-west zone.
This is the first time that a cricket stadium has been built in Kandahar province. Cricket officials welcomed the move and said this would help develop the sport in the province and that hopefully young players from the area would become part of the national team in future.