Gabba gets welcome facelift in time for India visit
The Gabba may have been left behind by its closest rivals in the stadium wars but it will at least have a fresh sparkle for the prized first Test against India in December.
Work is advancing at a rapid pace on a $35 million update that will deliver the ageing ground an overdue makeover in key areas.
The project is on schedule to be completed by October, and while there is no certainty crowds will be permitted in the Test against India two months later, this is still a small but significant step forward.
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Included in the improvements are colour-coded entrances, simplified signage, new eateries, destination bars and features that highlight the venue's colourful history.
They are sensible initiatives, but the ground's well-documented shortcomings - including horrendous parking, and a lamentable design that can make it feel like an enclosed sauna in the day - remain an ongoing challenge for cricket fans roasted by Brisbane's summer sun.
The Gabba's general lack of soul is accentuated by the fact there is not even one named grandstand nor many historical photos or memorabilia dotting the hallways, so the push to add character is welcome.
The Gabba's $35 million spend is dwarfed by the huge makeover of the Adelaide Oval and Perth's new Optus Stadium but small touches can make a difference.
Brisbane was fortunate to be given the India Test ahead of Perth, a decision that sparked instant anger from WACA officials.
Cricket-wise, the Gabba's most precious assets are its world-class deck and the fact Australia has not lost a Test there since 1988.
Australia's elite cricketers love the place and pushed hard for it to host the Indian Test.
Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn, who in 2018 said "the Gabba is due for a reno and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later,'' is encouraged by the revamp.
"There is nothing like playing at the Gabba when it is full," Lynn said.
"The support we receive from the fans make these upgrades all the more important.''
Originally published as Gabba gets welcome facelift in time for India visit