Gaddafi Stadium is all set to host the final of the Pakistan Super League second edition on March 5. As thousands of cricket lovers across the country prepare to flock to the historic ground to watch the ultimate showdown between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi, let’s get to know the history of the venue a little better by taking a walk down memory lane.
The stadium was built in 1959 and was initially known as ‘Lahore Stadium’ but the then-Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974 changed its name to Gaddafi stadium to honour the former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for his continued support to Pakistan.
Also read: Gaddafi Stadium looking its best for PSL final
The initial capacity of the stadium was 60,000 but due to the renovation of the stadium before the 1996 World Cup, the capacity was shrunk to 24,000 as the concrete spaces were replaced by plastic chairs.
The stadium boasts the honour of having the first-ever flood lights and hosting the iconic World Cup matches of 1987 and 1996 – the most prominent being the World Cup final of 1996.
There are more than a dozen enclosures in the stadium mainly named after iconic cricketing figures of Pakistan; enclosures named after Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Hanif Muhammad, Zaheer Abbas, Imtiaz Ahmed, Saeed Ahmed, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Saeed Anwar are located near the pavilion, whereas other enclosures are named after Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Wasim Hasan Raja, Abdul Qadir, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Quaid, Nazar Muhammad, Majid Khan, Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Fazal Mehmood.
Also read: PCB invites cricket greats to PSL final
Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Fazal Mehmood enclosures are VIP enclosures whereas Saeed Anwar and Sarfaraz Nawaz enclosures are in general category.
The Gaddafi Stadium is not just a cricket stadium; it has also hosted a number of hockey matches. The ever-famous wrestling match between Jhara and Anuki was also held here.
The first Test match in this stadium was played between Pakistan and Australia in 1959, whereas the first ODI to be held here was in January 1978 between Pakistan and England. The first ever T20 international match was played here between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in 2015.
A number of legendary Pakistani cricketers have an emotional attachment with this ground.
Javed Miandad scored his maiden Test century on his debut at this ground. Imran Khan holds the record of taking the most Test wickets at this venue (he took 56 wickets in 11 matches). Muhammad Yousuf holds the record of 1,125 runs in 11 matches. Inzamam scored 329 runs in a single Test inning here against New Zealand.
Islamabad United director Wasim Akram completed a Test hat-trick against Sri Lanka at this very ground. The ‘Swing ka Sultan’ also holds the record for the most ODI wickets (23) at this ground. Mohammad Sami also bagged a hat-trick at this ground in a Test match against Sri Lanka in 2002; the pacer has taken 19 wickets in 13 ODIs he has played at Gaddafi Stadium.
Shoaib Malik, with 1,030 runs, tops the chart of most runs scored by a player at this ground.
In the two T20 matches held in this stadium, Mukhtar Ahmed has scored most T20 runs (145 runs). Mohammad Sami has the most T20 wickets here (4 wickets in two matches). 176 is the biggest total scored by a team in an international T20 inning here.
Gaddafi Stadium has hosted 61 ODIs in which the team which batted first won 33 matches. In the two international T20s played here, the team which bowled first won both the games.