Indianapolis plans to build cricket stadium

Hyderabad, April 16 (IANS) The US city of Indianapolis, known for its world-class infrastructure and hosting of international sporting events, is now building a cricket stadium and plans to invite top cricket teams from across the globe.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Tuesday said he was planning to host the United States Amateur Cricketing Championship next year at the new stadium.

“After that we will be searching opportunities to bring major teams from around the world. Cricket is not exceptionally strong in the US right now. I need to change that. When people around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis,” he told a meeting of business leaders organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Hyderabad, which has a sister city pact with Indianapolis, was the first stop of the mayor and other business leaders.

Pointing out that Indianapolis already has a cricket field, Ballard said they were building another one.

“This is our commitment to international sports. We want to send signals to the world that Indianapolis is a place that you need to be looking at. We adapt to everything, we receive everybody and we are an extremely inclusive city,” said the mayor, who is leading a business delegation on a week-long visit to India.

Ballard said Indianapolis hosts the Indianapolis 500, the largest single-day sporting event in the world, in May every year. He also explained how the city was transformed with bike trails and waking access. The city currently has 75 miles of bike trails which will be extended to 200 miles by 2015 enabling people to go around the city on bicycles.

The mayor pointed out that young professionals in the US want bicycles as an alternative mode of transport.

Inviting Indian businessmen to Indianapolis, he added that the city has a very strong logistics infrastructure which allows any business in the world to flourish. He also referred to the fact that people ignore cities like Indianapolis while thinking of the US.

“There is a bias. When you think of America, you think of East Coast, New York and Hollywood but between all that there is immense talent and great economies and Indianapolis is one of those places,” said Ballard, adding that the sister city agreement with Hyderabad, signed three years ago, was a win-win situation for both the cities.

“The sister city agreement made sense to Indianapolis and also seemed to have made sense to Hyderabad,” said the mayor, who is visiting Hyderabad for the second time in three years.

He said their visit to Hyderabad also made sense because of the Andhra Pradesh capital’s strengths in information technology, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and certain cultural aspects. Ballard had Monday called on Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Raju Chinthala, president, Indianapolis-Hyderabad Sister Committee, stressed the need to strengthen relations between the two cities in areas like arts, culture, sports, education and business.

B. Ashok Reddy, chairman, CII Andhra Pradesh, highlighted the strengths of the state in infrastructure, IT, pharma and other fields.

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