The JSCA stadium has turnstiles, which allow the authorities to count the exact number of spectators at a match. Eden does not have any but the good news is that turnstiles will be installed by the time IPL VI starts, according to the Cricket Association of Bengal.
JSCA: 10/10, Eden: 8/10
Chairs: Eden recently replaced the slabs of concrete that served as seats with plastic chairs. The JSCA has done even better, making a one-time investment to install iron chairs that are spacious, comfortable and longer lasting than the ones at Eden.
Hills: The grassy slopes near the square boundaries give a distinctive look to the JSCA ground because no other cricket stadium in India has anything like it. But to make it more like the luxurious greens at Australian or South African grounds, the JSCA or its lessees should allow fewer people on these patches than they did during the India vs England ODI.
Corporate boxes: Eden was a little slow to come up with the 34 cool and comfy corporate boxes. Ranchi has double the number and in eight gradations. Eden has a refrigerator in each box stuffed with water and beverages. Each Eden box, lodged between the upper and lower tiers, also has a balcony attached where the patrons can step out to enjoy the ambience.
JSCA: 7/10, Eden: 5/10
A person in headgear in front of you — and many people don them now to attract the TV camera — would block your view of the action at the Eden Gardens. There is no chance of that happening at the JSCA as the incline is steep in the galleries, which have also been designed in such a way that pillars don’t obstruct the view. But the steep incline also means that the topmost stands provide almost a bird’s-eye view of the ground. You are so far removed from the action that you struggle to judge the height of the ball.
JSCA: 6/10, Eden: 6/10
Eden can accommodate about 69,000 spectators, the highest in the country. The Ranchi stadium, with a capacity of around 40,000, is among the bigger ones in the country.
JSCA: 7/10, Eden: 10/10
|CLEAN BOWLED: The Eden indoor facilities (left) are not a patch on those at the JSCA
Facilities for players
Indoor pitches: The Ranchi stadium has eight indoor nets illuminated by natural light let in by the roof. The facility is yet to be completed but is already better than the one at Eden. According to the players, the synthetic surface at Eden has dangerously uneven bounce in the absence of proper levelling. Also, at the Eden indoors, which opened a couple of years ago, the lights often do not work. Worse, even the bowling machines do not.
Gym: The gym again is where Eden would be knocked out by the JSCA. The newer facility is state-of-the-art and has every piece of equipment that cricketers use — from cross-trainers to treadmills to bench presses to pulleys to Swiss balls — and all manufactured by quality international brands. The gym is conveniently located next to the dressing room. The players can exercise while watching the action in the middle, as M.S. Dhoni prefers to do. Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli as well as some English players spent long hours there during the ODI and the English physio praised the equipment. Eden has a cramped gym on the floor above the indoor facility. The less said about it, the better.
Pavilion and dressing rooms: The dressing rooms at both grounds have modern amenities like massage chairs and sauna and steam baths. The wooden flooring is a plus, as are the lockers at the JSCA.
JSCA: 9/10, Eden: 5/10
|JSCA has something no Indian ground has: the grassy slope!
The JSCA has six light towers, two more than Eden. Both grounds are well lit. Eden has had problems with blackouts during international and IPL matches but those seem to have been sorted out.
JSCA: 10/10, Eden: 9/10
Crowd and ambience
The Ranchi spectators are enthusiastic but they have miles to go before they scream like their Eden rivals do. Dhoni’s home ground could also do with a crash course on the Mexican wave from Dada’s turf. A group of boys in the North stand of the Ranchi stadium tried to get one going, but failed to cause the required ripples.
JSCA: 4/10, Eden: 10/10
While the JSCA enjoys enormous advantage of being built several decades later it also suffers the enormous disadvantage of not being able to match Eden when it comes to history. For no fault of its, the Ranchi stadium will perhaps never be able to match the emotions cricketers and spectators feel when they enter Eden, knowing that it goes back to the times of Douglas Jardine and that just about every great of the game has played there and rated it very high. Even the rough edges at Eden lend it an old-world charm.
JSCA: 2/10, Eden: 10/10
|The Ranchi stadium gym is state-of-the-art
Eden scores in this area. The characters on the scoreboard at Ranchi are so small that even young eyes cannot make out anything from the other end. All the JSCA officials needed to do was check out the visibility for themselves. The huge electronic scoreboard is gone at Eden but the time-tested scoreboard over Block D gives lots of information and is very visible.
JSCA: 3/10, Eden: 9/10
Public address system
Whatever is said in the middle on the TV mike during the toss or at the post- match presentation is supposed to be relayed over the public address system, which is pathetic at both grounds, demonstrating the little respect cricket associations have for the paying public. However, the situation should improve during the IPL.
JSCA: 2/10, Eden: 2/10