Noida Cricket Stadium    AFP (representational image)
Noida Cricket Stadium AFP (representational image)

Plagued by poor agricultural amenities and drought, farmers in the NCR (National Capital Region) are devising unique methods to attain income and earn a livelihood. Keeping aside all the sky-scapers and start-ups, farmers are turning their agricultural land into cricket-grounds. Not just any cricket grounds, but all well-equipped with floodlights, canteens and a pavilion.

Most matches that take place are T20 ties, which stretch over weekends where people from all work of lives come and gather to participate in their beloved cricket. The matches played here cost somewhere around Rs 3,500 to 7,000 according to a report published in Times of India. Day-night matches cost more, apart from that one has to endure the cost of Maggi, health drinks and of-course working man s life-line; cigarettes.

One such village ground is situated near the Gurgaon-Faridabad road, Baliyawas. The village hosts of several grounds that rent out their land in search of good income. Sarjoj, who owns several grounds says, The land here isn’t very fertile and the output wasn’t much. Then a few years ago, some ex-cricketers approached us with the idea of turning land into grounds and that is how the trend started.”

Such grounds also generate jobs in surrounding areas that provide groundsmen, umpires, cooks and professional players-on-rent. “We have to train for seven to eight months before we can get a job as an umpire. We go online and watch YouTube, Google and highlights of old matches to enhance our understanding of umpiring, says Rakesh Harshana, who stands in corporate matches over weekends.