Hyderabad: The north stand of the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Uppal was rechristened Mohammed Azharuddin Stand before the start of the first T20 match between West Indies and India on Friday.
Interestingly, Azharuddin himself pressed the button to unveil the stand in the presence of cricketers Arshab Ayub, V V S Laxman, S L Venkatapathy Raju, Noel David and Mohammed Siraj along with Hyderabad Cricket Association apex council members amid loud cheers from the crowd.
Azharuddin also presented mementos to former Indian cricketers Ayub, Laxman and David and also Siraj. Former BCCI interim president N Shivlal Yadav and Ambati Rayudu were the notable absentees. Abid Ali, Narasimha Rao, Purnima Rau were also among those who were missing at the felicitation function.
This being the first T20 match in city – earlier India vs Australia match in October 2017 was abandoned without a ball being bowled – the excitement was palpable. The crowd painted the stadium blue with Indian jerseys. Despite the city hosting several T20 matches in IPL, this was the first international T20 match and fans didn’t miss the chance to cheer their favourite players.
Hyderabad was initially supposed to host the third T20 match instead of the opener but the Mumbai Cricket Association and BCCI requested the Azhar-led HCA to host the first match, who readily agreed. The HCA made all arrangements like providing water while the vendors sold the food items at prescribed rates.