Srinagar's Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, which has hosted just one first-class game in the last 18 years, is currently undergoing a revamp after the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) decided to vacate the venue.
A city that's endured years of militant violence, Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Kashmir, last hosted a one-dayer way back in 1986. The CRPF's stationing at the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, using the dressing rooms for accommodation, had meant that only some local age-group matches could be held there. Jammu, the winter capital, has been used for Jammu & Kashmir's home Ranji Trophy games.
Abdul Qayyum, a former captain of J&K who's currently involved in administration, was thrilled with the development. "Earlier we couldn't use the dressing-rooms even," he told Cricinfo. "The windows were shattered because of gunfire. Whenever we played local games we used to put a shamiana to use for a dressing room. It should be renovated in the next five or six months. We plan to play some Ranji games there next season."
CRPF spokesman P Tripathi said the paramilitary force would vacate both the indoor stadium too. Presently, the indoor stadium houses the CRPF's battalion headquarters. "We are looking for an alternate accommodation," he was quoted as saying in the Times of India. "Soon we would vacate the indoor stadium as well."
Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association has described CRPF's move as historic. "It's a big boost to our efforts to make Srinagar a hub of cricketing activities," JKCA chairman Mehboob Iqbal said. "We have assigned the job of renovating the stands to a team of interior designers and architects. We are also planning to lay new grass to prepare an outfield."