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Pakistan's Deserted Cricket Stadiums | by Usman Hayat
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Pakistan's Deserted Cricket Stadiums


Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore


Originally Lahore Stadium, the facility was renamed in 1974 in honour of the former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi following a speech he gave at the 2nd Organisation of the Islamic Conference meeting in Lahore in favour of Pakistan's right to pursue nuclear weapons. The stadium houses the headquarters of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

In 1995–96, the Gaddafi Stadium was renovated by architect Nayyar Ali Dada for the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Dada's redesign was done in the Mughal style, with red, hand-laid brickwork and arches. Dada also had plastic seating installed in place of the existing concrete benches. The lower portion under the stands was enclosed and converted to shops for boutiques and offices. Gaddafi Stadium was the first in Pakistan to be equipped with modern floodlights having their own standby power generators. On 23 October 2011 the Pakistan Cricket Board discussed renaming the stadium following the death of Gaddafi, to support NTC and Libya. The Punjab Olympic Association made a similar request in late October 2011 to the provincial chief minister, telling Cricinfo:, "I don't think his profile is inspirational enough to link with our cricket stadium's identity." As of April 2012, however, it does not appear that the stadium's name will be changed after all.

Pakistan has enjoyed some memorable moments on the ground, including a fifth-wicket stand of 281 between Javed Miandad and Asif Iqbal against New Zealand in 1976 and an innings and 324 run win against New Zealand in 2002. The stadium hosted the final of the 1996 World Cup, which was watched by over 60,000 spectators. However, despite the impressive capacity, the ground is often sparsely attended for Test matches, with sometimes as few as 1000 fans turning up. One-day internationals are more popular and crowds in excess of 20,000 are common.

On 3 March 2009, the scheduled third day of second Test of 2008–09 Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan, the Sri Lankan team's convoy was attacked by armed militants at Liberty Roundabout, near Gaddafi stadium. Eight Sri Lankan players were injured, including Sri Lankan captain, Mahela Jayawardene. The Sri Lankan team was air-lifted from Gaddafi Stadium to a nearby airbase, from where they were evacuated back to Sri Lanka.



April 2012,

Nikon D800,

Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8@14mm,

f/10, 70s, 100 ISO

MC-36 Remote used

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Taken on April 25, 2012