Despite concerted efforts by the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) to make India- West Indies match a great success, Dharamsala, the small hill-town located in the foothills of mighty Dhauladhar ranges, missed the buzz this time as seen during the IPL matches or the last ODI held here between India and England.
This is the second international match at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association's (HPCA) stadium.
Though there was much fanfare the day the two teams arrived at Dharamsala, but there was not much response on Friday.
Unlikely the previous matches held here, the traffic this time was smooth and the day less troublesome for the local residents.
During the last ODI held here between England and India, the entire system, particularly the traffic arrangement, had collapsed badly causing a day-long traffic jam.
“We were expecting a full occupancy. However, this time it is not like previous years,” said Ashwani Sharma, an hotelier.
Interestingly, a few of the stands in the stadium also remained empty. It was the locals who showed a little interest in the big event.
Invoking weather god, seeking divine blessings
As the weather in Dharamsala remains unpredictable as usual, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chiefs along with his associates invoked the local deity Indrunag- the serpent rain god, for clear skies.
The team HPCA visited the small temple of Indrunag located at a small hilltop overlooking Dharamsala town and offered prayers.
The locals believe that the deity saves them from all kinds of natural calamities. Be a marriage, or any important occasion, the locals first offer prayers at this temple. Later, it was the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who graced the inauguration of the match and blessed the players.
This is for the second time that the Dalai Lama was present in a cricket match. Earlier, he was the chief guest during IPL matches during the 2010 season of the commercial league.