May 12, 2011

Indian Premier League

Seeking divine inspiration

Akhila Ranganna

It isn’t often that Himachal Pradesh stages high-profile cricket matches at the picturesque stadium in Dharamsala so the local officials are doing everything possible to make the three upcoming IPL matches there a success. There’s only one thing beyond their control – the weather. Last year’s game between the “home” side, Kings XI Punjab, and Chennai Super Kings and was preceded by thundershowers and the weathermen have forecast scattered rain in the area once again. So, ahead of Sunday’s game between Punjab and Delhi Daredevils, the HP cricket association has turned to greater powers to ensure a smooth match.

Apart from fire rituals to appease the weather gods the HPCA has also constructed a big concrete gate dedicated to Lord Indrunag [the rain god in the hills]. During last season the HPCA had organised a yajna [a fire-based religious ceremony] at the Indrunag temple that overlooks the stadium with over 2000 cricket fans participating in it. And there are plans to organise one more such ceremony before the May 15 game. But god helps those who help themselves, so the ground now boasts a more efficient drainage system, four water-sopping machines and a lightweight plastic sheet that can cover the entire ground in five minutes. Time for the cricketers to do their bit.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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