Feroz Shah Kotla stadium to be renamed after Arun Jaitley
Delhi’s historic Feroz Shah Kotla, the second-oldest cricket stadium in India, will been renamed Arun Jaitley Stadium in tribute to the former Union finance minister who passed away recently. The stadium, however, will also continue to be known by its geographical location, the Feroz Shah Kotla, after the 14th century monument which is situated next to it.
Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rajat Sharma told, “We are not changing the name. It will remain Feroz Shah Kotla ground. It will also be called Arun Jaitley Stadium. It is an addition to that (old name).”
Jaitley, who was president of the DDCA from 1999 to 2013. “What can be a better tribute than to have the stadium named after the man who got it rebuilt? It was Jaitley’s support and encouragement that players like Kohli, Sehwag, Gambhir and Nehra made India proud,” Sharma said.
Many former Delhi cricketers endorsed the move, with ex-India opener Chetan Chauhan saying, “Jaitley deserves it. He was the key in getting the stadium constructed. It was in a shambles earlier. He got all the permissions from different departments.”
Former India pacer Atul Wassan said, “The stadium exists because of him. It is a token of appreciation. But Feroz Shah Kotla’s name has to be there. That is history you can’t do away with.”
Vijay Dahiya, the former India wicketkeeper, said: “This is a great gesture from DDCA. Jaitley was a fantastic administrator. His love for and knowledge of the game was great. A lot of us came into the limelight because of him.”
Even Madan Lal, who didn’t enjoy Jaitley’s support in the last DDCA elections, was all praise. “Jaitelyji made the stadium dream possible. Without him, this stadium wouldn’t have renovated. His name should be associated with Kotla.”
Former India cricketer Kirti Azad, however, was critical of the move. “This (name change) is unfortunate. A dining room, pavilion, gallery or club house could have been named after Jaitley instead. Due respect to the departed soul, they should have done it differently. Sycophancy at its best,” Azad said.