When one talks about Indian cricket’s glory moments in their history, the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia features prominently. It was at this venue in 2006 that Sachin Tendulkar stamped his class on the world stage with a brilliant century. In 2008, the venue was a sight for greater glory for a certain Virat Kohli as he led his side to the Under-19 World Cup title. Thus, it came as a rude shock for a lot of cricket fans when news emerged that the venue would be closed. The Malaysian Cricket Association’s lease expired in October and the property company that owned the land ordered them out of the ground to make way for a new development. After several months in limbo, the ground’s future is now assured after the cabinet agreed it should continue operating as a cricket stadium following talks with parties involved in the dispute.
Saj Saddiq, the Sports Minister of Malaysia, said on Twitter, “The Malaysian government is committed to saving this... cricket ground. Cabinet decided that saving the cricket ground is more important than commercial development.” During the entire episode, the International Cricket Council had also said they were not in favour of closing the Kinrara Oval as the game was flourishing in the country. According to a report in AFP, the ministry said the final terms of a deal will be hammered out in a meeting between the sports ministry, the developer of the Kinrara Oval Perumahan Kinrara Berhad and the cricket association.
In the 2006 DLF Cup Tri-series which involved India, West Indies and Sri Lanka, Tendulkar stamped his class with a brilliant 141 off 148 ball and the knock included 13 fours and five sixes. His opening stand of 75 with Rahul Dravid (26) and his 125-run stand with Irfan Pathan helped India end on 309/5. Tendulkar remained unbeaten but during the West Indies chase, the rain played spoilsport and West Indies were declared winners by 29 runs courtesy the Duckworth-Lewis method. India did not make it to the final which was eventually won by Australia when they defeated the West Indies by 127 runs.
In 2008, the India Under-19 team led by Virat Kohli looked to cement their legacy as they looked to win the title. They got off to a great start with a win against Papua New Guinea but they got a big win against South Africa by six wickets. Kohli’s side continued their winning run by beating the West Indies by 50 runs and in the quarter-final, they defeated England by seven wickets. India overcame a tough fight from New Zealand to win the match by three wickets and in the final they once again faced South Africa.
Tanmay Shrivastava was the top scorer with 46 as India reached 159 but in a rain-curtailed game, Siddarth Kaul, Ravindra Jadeja, Iqbal Adbulla and Ajitesh Argal held their nerve as they won the match by 12 runs to clinch the title.
When one talks about where Kohli’s greatness at the international stage began, it was right here at the Kinrara Oval. Cricket fans will be happy that the venue is not closed for the time being and that in the near future, more stars emerge from here.