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Dharamsala to host two IPL matches

cricket Updated: Apr 14, 2010 20:49 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It is a dream come true not only for the cricket lovers but for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) too, as Dharamsala will play host to two Indian Premier League matches beginning on April 16.

The scenic stadium for first time is playing host to mega cricket event, though Dharamsala was short listed as a venue for the last IPL edition, which shifted to South Africa.

Till date the HPCA has spent more than Rs 50 crore to develop the stadium of international repute. After Dharamsala stadium was short listed for IPL, HPCA increased its sitting capacity to 23,000 by adding few tiers to the existing stand.

Though the officials said that there is scope to add more tiers to the stands but any further construction would destroy the beauty of the stadium. Introduction of more tiers bloc the view of majestic snow capped Dhauladhar mountain ranges, which makes the stadium more beautiful, said Sanjay Sharma spokesman of the cricket association.

The stadium also got a facelift with the installation of floodlights, which were switched on for the first time during the recently held BCCI Corporate Trophy. Nearly Rs.5 crores were spent for the floodlights.

But since Twenty-20 extravaganza was shifted out of the country, the cricket fans of Dharamsala had to wait for some more time to see the top cricket stars in action.

The stadium has received accolades from many international cricketers and fans. It is one of the most beautiful stadiums I have ever seen, an Australian pace bowler commented when he arrived at the stadium on Wednesday for shoot of a commercial, which featured Kings XI Punjab players Yugraj Singh and Irfan Pathan.

State government further took more initiatives to make stadium more attractive. It permitted the Public Works Department to raze the quarters of government staff which was close to the stadium. Apart from this, the HPCA constructed two indoor stadiums and increased practice areas for the players.

Roads leading to the stadium were widened for the smooth flow of traffic.

Besides, the bypass road-connecting stadium to the ITI chowk was constructed to divert the heavy rush of cricket fans expected for the IPL matches.

While the local organizers for the IPL, HPCA is upbeat over the twenty 20 matches being organized in the otherwise sleepy hill town, the government is seeing the event to promote tourism.

"Holding IPL in Dharamsala will go a long way in promoting cricket in the state, apart from strengthening our claims for organizing international matches in future, " said HPCA President Anurag Thakur, who has been credited for bringing the IPL to the state.

"Certainly HPCA requires to be commended for developing a great stadium," said cricketer turned curator Daljit Singh.

The stadium had hosted an exhibition match between Presidents Borad XI and Pakistan team. The event held six years back brought international spotlight for the stadium. Till date, the stadium has hosted more than 60 first class matches of Ranjhi and Duleep Trophy.

Large numbers of VIPs are expected to arrive in Dharamsala to watch the matches which will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.