Controversies shrouding the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) have seemingly taken a toll on the Indian Premier League Cricket matches in Himachal Pradesh, as no match has been scheduled in the scenic cricket stadium in Dharamsala.
In what is being seen as a setback by cricket fans in the state, the Dharamsala cricket stadium did not figure in the schedule released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the part of the tournament to be played in India this year. So far, the state has hosted 9 IPL matches of the last four editions of the tournament after 2010.
The IPL will start on April 16 in the United Arab Emirates, where 20 matches will be played, and shift to India on May 2, with the final scheduled to be held on June 1 in Mumbai.
The HPCA is accusing the state government of non-assistance for matches. The BCCI secretary had earlier sought suggestions from the state police on hosting matches in Dharamsala since its personnel were required for election duty. Police had claimed that it was unable to provide security since it already had sent six companies as requisitioned by the Election Commission for poll duty in various parts of the country.
“The BCCI and the HPCA had approached the various government authorities for provision of security cover and administrative support for hosting IPL matches,” HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood said here on Friday.
Blaming the HP government for the scuttling of the matches, he added, “It has been done on the directions of chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his ‘coterie’ of advisors and officials.”
“In spite of writing to the state government and the police department twice, and an HPCA representative meeting them in person for provision of the requisite security cover for IPL matches, they did not even respond,” alleged Sood. “It showed that the state government does not want IPL matches to be played here,” he added.
Accusing the government of “being jealous”, Sood alleged that the state government was made “insecure” by the success of the game and the infrastructure created under the leadership of HPCA chief Anurag Thakur.
“The government is resorting to vindictive tactics to curb the rise and popularity of the game in Himachal,” he added.
Sood said the loss of not hosting these matches “could not be quantified, but can be guessed at by the fame the state has gained since it started hosting them”.
“It will also affect local businesses, including hotels, transportation and restaurants, which used to run at full capacity due to the IPL,” he added.