The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) unanimously elected Hamirpur member of Parliament (MP) Anurag Thakur as its president for the fourth time in a row, during the sports body’s annual general meeting (AGM), here on Sunday.
The elections were conducted under the chairmanship of association’s senior vice-president RS Kapoor, who was the returning officer.
The new executive of the HPCA will be decided by Thakur, who is also secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Thakur, 40, the son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, took over the reins of the state cricket body at the age of 25 in 2000.
While addressing a press conference after his re-election, the parliamentarian said the journey of the state cricket body from 2002 till date was like a dream.
“When I took over as president, the HPCA was in a shambles facing many challenges like lack of infrastructure, negligible budget and the state team performing poorly in the national tournaments,” Thakur said.
In the past 15 years, Thakur said the HPCA had carved a niche for itself in the world of cricket and developed five cricket stadiums and academies across the state in the past decade.
Speaking about the future plans, Thakur said the HPCA would make efforts to start an annual tournament wherein best teams of the country would participate. “Besides, a state-level tournament on the pattern of the Indian Premium League (IPL) is also on the cards,” Thakur said, adding that the tournament would be named Himachal Premium League (HPL).
A market study is being conducted to decide on the format, number of games and other aspects of the tournament, he said.
The MP also expressed gratitude to the HPCA family for reposing faith in him time and again. He said the Dharamsala cricket stadium might soon get the test status and a BCCI team would soon be coming for inspection in this regard.
“We are hosting a T20 international for the first time during the India-South Africa series slated in October-November, and efforts would be made to schedule the final match in Dharamsala,” Thakur said.
Meanwhile, sports lovers across the state and those connected with the BJP and its other organisations hailed Thakur election as the HPCA president.
‘Will educate people about drawbacks of HP sports bill’
While addressing party workers in Nadaun area of Hamirpur on Saturday night, Anurag Thakur said he was promoting not only cricket, but other sports as well in all parts of the country.
He said the HP sports bill was anti-people in general and anti-sportspersons in particular, and he would oppose it.
Thakur said the Congress party government in the state was trying to grab the sports bodies, but its gimmick would not succeed. He asked the party cadre to educate the masses about the drawbacks of the bill and pressure the government to rescind it.
He said the BCCI would make Himachal Pradesh one of the main centres of activities, and more international matches in various disciplines would be organised in the picturesque Dhauladhar cricket stadium of Dharamsala.
While talking to HT about his priorities about sports in the state being the HPCA chief and also the vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association, Thakur said the people would see more sports activities in different parts of the state in the coming months.
He said he was unhappy with the stand of the state government, especially the chief minister, with regards to sports issues in the state, adding that the CM was creating hurdles in sports activities, which was undemocratic and anti-sportspersons.