New Delhi: The iconic Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, the second oldest after Eden Gardens in Kolkata, was renamed as Arun Jaitley stadium on Thursday by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
The former finance minister and DDCA president, Arun Jaitley, died last month at AIIMS after suffering from a series of health-related issues.
However, the ground will continue to be called the Feroz Shah Kotla.
A stand in the stadium was also named after Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli. The 30-year-old recently became the most successful captain overseas in Test cricket, surpassing MS Dhoni’s record of 27 wins.
“When I apprised Jaitley ji of dedicating a stand in the name of Virat Kohli, he said there has never been a greater cricketer than Virat in Delhi and world cricket,” DDCA president Rajat Sharma said.
Recalling his earliest memories of Kotla, the Indian skipper said, “I remember in 2001 (2000) there was a Test match here (Feroz Shah Kotla) against Zimbabwe and my sir (childhood coach, Raj Kumar Sharma) got me tickets to see the match. My brother and I went to see the match. We were sitting on the opposite side of the pavilion.”
“I remember Viru bhai (Virendra Sehwag) was on the ground and Yuvi paji (Yuvraj Singh) was there too. Javagal Srinath was standing at the boundary. I can clearly recall there used to be fencing between the ground and the stands. I was standing right up at the fencing and was asking for his autograph. We were discussing how quickly time flies. I never thought that one day I will get such an honour in the same stadium.”
Former cricketers including Virendra Sehwag and Kapil Dev were also present on the occasion.
When asked what he thinks of naming a pavilion after Kohli, he said,“There are two things that I liked. Firstly, how everything changes when we have a good administrator. Secondly, it gives everyone greater pleasure if someone gets such an honour while in his playing days. Previously, players had to wait till retirement to get such an honour.”