Nepal will receive a new international cricket stadium after a deal was reached to develop a 25,000-capacity facility as part of a multi-sport project in Bharatpur.
Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium will be built in the southern central city as part of a partnership between Dhurmus Suntali Foundation and Bharatpur Metropolitan City.
The lotus-shaped stadium will be accompanied by facilities for football, volleyball, basketball, badminton, taekwondo and swimming, as well as a fitness centre. Dhurmus Suntali Foundation has become a household name in Nepal, and further afield, after developing four model villages to aid recovery efforts following the devastating earthquake which hit the country in 2015.
The Foundation will be responsible for developing the stadium, which it hopes to build within two years and then hand over to the City. The project is expected to cost NPR3bn (£20m/€22.9m/$26.2m) to build and the cricket stadium will be equipped with floodlights for night matches, along with VIP facilities, a media centre and LED screens throughout the venue.
Foundation president Sitaram Kattel said a detailed project report will be released within six months, with the official hand-over date named when the groundbreaking ceremony takes place. “We also want to give a message that it is not impossible to complete any project on time if we work hard,” Kattel said, according to the Himalayan Times newspaper.
“We will construct a stadium in typical Nepali style which will reflect our culture. And we would like to assure all the contributors that not a single penny will be misused in this project.”
Nepal is regarded as one of cricket’s developing nations and was afforded official one-day international status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June. Nepal’s Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, was present at the announcement and said the government would give the project its full support.
Oli said: “We know one stadium is not enough and we need construct many more. Everyone needs to take initiative and projects like these need support from all quarters of society.”
He added, according to the Kathmandu Post newspaper: “Our cricket facilities at Gokarna and Kirtipur are not that good. With the construction of the new stadium, it will give us new recognition at international level.”
Bharatpur Mayor Renu Dahal expressed her hope of attracting top national teams to play in the new stadium. “We have planned to host India and Pakistan as the inaugural match of the stadium,” she said.