New Delhi: In a glittering ceremony in the national capital on Thursday, not only was the famous Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium rechristened the Arun Jaitley Stadium in honour of the late Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) President Arun Jaitley, but the new players' pavilion was also named after India skipper Virat Kohli.
All this in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and a host of BCCI officials -— both past and present. Held at the Weightlifting Hall of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the occasion saw the Indian team in attendance as their skipper was duly honoured for his contribution to the game.
The DDCA Annual Honours 2019 also saw promising cricketers from Delhi being honoured with mementoes for their performances. The show started with a dance performance before DDCA President Rajat Sharma took over the stage as he welcomed everyone and showered laurels on not just Jaitley and Kohli, but also Shah.
He spoke on how former Finance Minister Jaitley played a pivotal role in making Delhi cricket what it is today. He also revealed how DDCA has decided to start two academies where poor kids will be trained for free. The Commonwealth Games Village and Pitampura will be the venues for the two academies.
The DDCA President added that former Delhi stars would contribute in the effort without charging a penny. The rechristening of the stadium was done by Shah, Rajat Sharma, Rijiju and the family members of Jaitley with an audio visual clip being played in the background. Shah presented the Jaitley family with a memento to honour the occasion.
After that it was all about King Kohli as Rajat Sharma, Shah and the India skipper took the stage as the new pavilion was unveiled. Speaking on the occasion, Kohli spoke of how special the evening was and how it was double joy as the stadium was also named in honour of Jaitley on the same evening. Kohli also thanked his family and his childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma for his contributions over the years.
"When I left home today, I told my family one anecdote. I remember getting a ticket to watch a game in 2001 at the stadium and asking for autographs from the players. So to have a pavilion in my name at the same stadium today is surreal and a great honour," Kohli revealed.
The whole team was felicitated after this by Shah and Rijiju following which the players posed for a group photograph. In the DDCA Annual Honours, Dhruv Shorey, Navdeep Saini, Jonty Sidhu and Tejas Baroka were the top award getters, among others. Speaking on the occasion, former India skipper Kapil Dev said: "Wonderful to have a stand in the name of Virat. And whatever DDCA does for Arun Jaitley is not enough given his contribution.
"Former India player Ajay Jadeja said that it was a truly deserved gift for Kohli. "Virat is a special player and he deserves this kind of a recognition. To be actively playing and getting a stand in his name is a great feeling," he said. Former DDCA Vice President and India opener Chetan Chauhan spoke about his long association with Jaitley.
"Arun Jaitleyji was DDCA President for 14 years and I was the Vice President. He was our friend, guide. Whenever we needed direction, he would help us. The biggest help he did was to rebuild the Kotla stadium. So it's befitting to name it in his honour," he said.