Apart from the loss of face for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, the shifting of the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 match out of Dharamsala will lead to considerable losses to local businesses in the hill town.
With the D-day for the March 19 game nearing, many hotels had heavy advance bookings but Wednesday’s announcement by the ICC has left them to deal with cancellations. Even local fans are disappointed to miss out on the big clash.
“It was Dharamsala’s turn to hog the limelight. We were hoping to watch the match. It would have been great to host the India-Pakistan encounter but sadly local politics prevailed and the match has been shifted,” said Sudhir, who studies in the Government College.
Local hoteliers say the cancellations will lead to a huge loss of business besides tarnishing the image of the state and the town.
The owner of the Hotel City Heart, Shyam Chaddha, said it was already a lean season with very few tourist arrivals. “We were hoping this one match will make the year profitable for us, but now that chance is gone,” he said.
Fans who had planned to reach Dharamsala well in advance were left grappling with the change in travel plans. One of them, who had planned to come with his family from Ludhiana said that it was disheartening, especially for his 12-year-old son Jitinder Sud, an avid cricket fan.
“I thought we will go there and enjoy. I was trying to buy tickets for the match. But now we can’t plan for Kolkata at the last minute,” said Arjun Sud.