Nestled amid the mighty Dhauladhar mountains, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association’s (HPCA) international cricket stadium in Dharamshala had yet another feather added in its cap on Monday, as the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) approved the stunning cricket arena as a Test venue.
Considered among the world’s most beautiful cricket stadiums, the Dharamshala stadium was among the six grounds that were added in the list of the nine existing ones at the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Mumbai on Monday.
Five other stadiums to be added to the list are in Ranchi, Pune, Indore, Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.
BCCI secretary and MP Anurag Thakur, who also heads the HPCA, tweeted, “Great day for @crichimachal ! #HPCA cricket stadium dharamshala hs been approved as Test Centre by @BCCI.”
Thakur, who took the reins of the HPCA in 2000 at the young age of 25, credited the people of the hill state for the feat.
Reminiscing his first year as the president of the cricket body, Anurag also tweeted,
Located at a height of 1,457 metres, Dharamshala cricket stadium figured first on the international cricket map in 2005 when it hosted a warm-up tie between the touring Pakistan team led by Inzamam-ul-Haq and the Indian Board President’s XI.
It became a venue for the commercial Indian Premium League (IPL) and hosted nine matches in four seasons from 2010 to 2013. The stadium hosted the first one-day international on January 27, 2013, played between India and England.
Though the venue missed on the IPL in 2014 and 2015 owing to the tussle between the Congress-led state government and the HPCA, which saw Anurag and his team tangled in a legal battle, it hosted the second ODI on October 17, 2014.
Recently, the picturesque ground hosted its first-ever T20 international, played between India and South Africa as part of the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela series.
Meanwhile, the entire HPCA team has expressed delight on the achievement.
“It’s a great feat for this tiny hill state and would help us strengthen our resolve to make Himachal the powerhouse of cricket in the country and to provide good facilities and infrastructure to the cricket-loving people of the country,” HPCA honorary secretary Vishal Marwah said, while congratulating Anurag and expressing gratitude to the BCCI.