Craze for seeing cricket's greatest star play live has sent the excitement quotient soaring here in this sleepy hill town. The Mumbai Indian team which arrived at the Gaggal airport near Dharamsala on Thursday was given a warm welcome by fans.
The fans were elated to see Sachin Tendulkar who will be playing in Dharamsala for the first time when Mumbai Indians will take on Kings XI Punjab on Saturday in the ongoing T-20 league. Mumbai Indians have already qualified for the play-offs of the IPL 2013 and occupy top spot in the standings.
Meanwhile, The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has honoured Sachin by naming its newly built 'centre of excellence' in the stadium after him. The star player is likely to inaugurate the indoor practice arena having world class facilities. HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood said that the centre is equipped with indoor practice wicket, video analysis facility of bowing and bating, steam, sauna, and jacuzzi room. “In fact the indoor practice centre will have all the world-class facilities for the players,” said Sood.
Delighted over the response of spectators for the second match to be played here between Kings Xi Punjab and Mumbai Indians, Sood said it's only the craze of the fans to witness Tendulkar's batting in the newly-constructed international ground that has created the buzz.
“We have sold out over 95% tickets of the second match with the sale turnover is Rs.1.62 crore, the record so far in Dharamsala,” said Sood. “It's a proud moment for the organisers too to see Tendulkar in action here for the first time," HPCA president and member of Parliament from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, said. “We are working to make it a memorable event," added Thakur, the man behind the R100-crore stadium and ultra-luxury residential complex.
Dharamsala cricket stadium, located at an altitude of 4,000 feet above the sea level, surrounded by sprawling tea gardens and mighty Dhauladhar in the backdrop, is one of the most beautiful venues in the world.
This picturesque Himalayan hill station, which has lured hundreds of thousands of Westerners since Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama settled here in 1960, witnessed its first international ODI between India and England January 27, 2013. It's a regular venue of T-20 since 2010.