Heavenly venue awaits God of cricket
When as a national selector, former India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani came to the stadium in Dharamsala for a Duleep Trophy match, he was so captivated by the idyllic setting he did a somersault and exclaimed, 'I'm in heaven!' Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports.cricket Updated: May 16, 2011 00:53 IST
When as a national selector, former India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani came to the stadium in Dharamsala for a Duleep Trophy match, he was so captivated by the idyllic setting he did a somersault and exclaimed, 'I'm in heaven!'
This ground at the foothills of the Dhauladhar range, with snowcapped peaks offering a stunningly beautiful backdrop, is yet to host an international game. The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) ground is a sight for the gods. Recalling the incident, HPCA president and former Ranji off-spinner Anurag Thakur said: “Kirmani, Kiran More and their co-selectors were here when they saw the nature's miracle which this ground is blessed with. The game was stopped as it started raining in the morning. It became pitch dark as black clouds moved in. But within a few minutes the sun came out, shining brightly. When the clouds lifted over the Dhauladhar, there was fresh snowfall on the hill slopes. They were witness to three climates in a day.”
A lot of people were surprised when the HPCA chose the site for their main stadium. It was a hillock with a 70 ft slope; a rivulet passed through the place that would be flooded during the monsoons.
“It's been 11 years since we selected this venue. Every time I come here, I just sit outside and keep looking at the view,” Thakur said.
“Dilip Vengsarkar was the first international player to come here, when the stadium was half ready. He said, ‘trust me, this is going to be the most beautiful ground in the world’.”
Now, Thakur's dream is to get the God of cricket to play at the heaven of cricket. The IPL as brought many a player here but Sachin Tendulkar is yet to set foot on this beautiful ground.
“The only facility which was preventing us from getting international status was the lack of a five-star hotel. After waiting for 10 years for some business house to build one, HPCA built one on our own. My dream is to host a one-day international before Tendulkar retires.”