‘Crazy to me’: Rohit & Najmul marvel in New York stadium magic

New York, May 31 (UNI) Ahead of India and Bangladesh’s June 1 warm-up meeting at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Rohit Sharma and Najmul Hossain Shanto have taken in the sights of the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

June 3 will be the ground’s true day of destiny when it hosts its first match in the tournament proper, though cricket fans’ eyes will be transfixed on June 1 when the New York ground plays host to two heavyweights putting in some final work ahead of their respective campaigns.

Coming off a scratchy series defeat to the USA, Shanto’s side will be desperate to put the pieces of a winning plan together, while it’s a vital, sole warm-up hitout for an India side yearning to lift the T20 World Cup trophy on June 29.

There’s a surreal feeling seeing the two star skippers of international cricket spin around in surprise at the new facility – one started and finished in just three months – set to play a starring role in hosting the biggest T20 World Cup ever staged.

Having only seen the facility through photos and various time lapses in the build-up, Shanto was floored seeing the stadium in person, an ICC report said.

“It’s unbelievable. I think it’s crazy,” Shanto began.

“I mean we all saw on the internet there was nothing (three months ago). Now it looks like a proper stadium and feels great,” he said.

“The Eastern grandstand in particular, I didn’t expect it to be like this. I think it’s almost a proper stadium. The ground itself looks very good. It’s a proper cricket ground,” Shanto said.

“To be very honest I wasn’t expecting anything like this but we all followed on social media how the wicket looks like, how the ground would be, and we are very excited as to what is going to happen here,” he said.

“It feels very good and looks crazy to me,” Shanto added.

Seating up to 34,000 people, temporary stands designed by Populous were raced up, with turf brought in from LandTek Group, an organisation boasting successful projects with both New York Major League Baseball teams and the Inter Miami Major League Soccer team.

The drop-in turf square meanwhile was curated in Florida by Adelaide Oval Turf Solutions and head curator Damian Hough, driven on a 20-hour trip in several pieces before being moved into the centre.

Looking around at the stands and peering towards the centre square, a relaxed Rohit Sharma saluted those who pieced together the bold project.

“It looks beautiful. It’s quite an open ground. When we come here and play our first game, I just can’t wait to feel the atmosphere in the stadium,” the India captain said.

“It’s a decent capacity as well. Hopefully it’s gonna be a good one,” he said.

While enjoying a moment to take in the scenery, India must hit the ground running in the warm-up, with their first group game at the same venue on June 8 against Ireland.

“We’re looking to understand the conditions more importantly (before the tournament proper) as we haven’t been here before,” Rohit continued.

“We will try and make the most of the conditions, get used to what it’s going to be like on June 5 when we play our first game. It’s just about getting into that rhythm of getting the feel of the ground, pitch and stuff like that,” he said.

“People in New York will be very interested in coming and watching the World Cup, with the World Cup happening for the first time here,” Rohit said.

“I’m pretty sure all the fans across the various teams are quite excited and looking forward to this tournament. And also as players can’t wait to get started,” he added.

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