The Shri Mohanlal Manilal Desai Cricket Ground, Sanjay Farm in Gujarat may seem an unlikely place for Cricket Uganda to refer as a ‘second home’. With a relationship that started in 2018 that has seen two high-performance tours for Cranes’ development squads, it looks likely to provide a base for many more tours of the future after a recent upgrade to its facilities.
The Sanjay Farm project is run by Swetal Desai, and started a working relationship with Uganda Cricket two years ago in an initiative mainly geared towards helping the next generation of Ugandan cricketers be exposed early to consistent quality cricket in subcontinental conditions.
Uganda Cricket embraced this relationship to provide exposure to its developing players; two development squads have visited Sanjay Farm filled with a healthy mix of emerging and established talent.
In 2019 six players who were part of the U19 team were hosted at the Paramveer Cricket Academy at Sanjay Farm for a month as they got into tune for the qualifiers in Namibia under the watchful eye of professional coaches.
In a bid to attract more international teams Sanjay Farm have chosen to spend US$40,00 improving their grounds.
In an interview with Uganda’s Daily Monitor the proprietor of Sanjay Farm, Swetal Desai, had this to say about the project:
“With the ground out of action due to Covid-19, we thought it wise to upgrade it to international standards.
“Some international teams have shown interest in us hosting them and we have put in place five new pitches. We have also relaying the outfield. It was wobbly before but we want it to be even and make fielding enjoyable. The cyclone is also here to help in some parts of South Gujarat.”
Desai, who is also the president of the Rotary Club of Chikhli River Front added; “We have also put lights for half of the ground to enable night training. We have planted new recommended grass and netted off the ground to avoid the balls going into the road and hitting those passing by. We have also some flowers outside the ground to beautify the place.”
The improvements should make Sanjay Farm stand out in terms of being a destination for international teams that seek quality facilities, especially Associate nations that could look for a more affordable alternative to some options in the Middle East.
Bermuda are another Associate nation scoping out Sanjay Farm with a view to also taking advantage of the facilities.
In 2020 Cricket Uganda played over eight games at the facility, both 50-over and T20, against very strong select sides, with some of the games live streamed.
Want extra Emerging Cricket content? Contribute to the Emerging Cricket Patreon cause from as little as $2 a month. Sign up here!