India news January 20, 2012

Dharamsala cleared to host internationals


The picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamsala has been approved by the ICC to host international one-dayers and Twenty20 matches. The venue was inspected by ICC match referee and former Australia batsman David Boon last month and the approval was conveyed to the association yesterday morning, according to Mohit Sood, the HPCA's press secretary.

"It is a very important decision [for us]," Sood told ESPNcricinfo. "We don't have any other ground in the state that can host ICC-approved international matches. This is the first ground in Himachal Pradesh."

At an altitude of 1317 metres above sea level and with the snow-capped Dauladhar hill-range rising in the background, the stadium is arguably India's most beautiful. It has hosted a number of IPL matches over the past couple of years, serving as the second home for the Kings XI Punjab franchise. It was the IPL experience that convinced the association that they were capable of hosting international games. "After that we approached the BCCI to take the case forward [with the ICC]," Sood said.

The process began two years ago and this was the second inspection of the stadium, which has a capacity of 23,000 and is located 250 km from the state capital, Shimla. The first time around, the HPCA were told that their security arrangements and the infrastructure for the players were not adequate. Since Dharamsala does not have hotels of the standard required by the ICC, Sood said that they built their own in the form of a residential academy to house the players and improved security to the point where their procedures passed muster.

He expects the opportunity to see live international games to motivate more people in the state to take up the game and, thereby, improve the overall quality of their cricket. "As it is, with the creation of infrastructure, our team is doing well at the domestic level. In the near future, we will have players from the state representing India."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dal on January 23, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    Is it a decent pitch? i remember watching a Kings XI match there but cant remember how the pitch behaved?

  • Santosh on January 21, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Thats great news for fan...BCCI should make green,fast pitch here...Groom their players in such conditions...Make grounds in different parts of India...Prepare young players to play different conditions... Dharamsala would be awesome venue for cricket...

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    It would be great to play cricket in the highest cricket stadium in the world

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Considering Dharamsala as a venue for International cricket is not a bad idea,in fact it is an excellent idea,but will the players not suffer from problems like Altitude Sickness/Acute Mountain Sickness, playing at such great heights?? Anyways,the level of fitness of cricketers these days is truly appalling,to say the least !!

  • Kavin on January 21, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    Dharamshala is one of the most beautiful cricket grounds.

  • Amit on January 21, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    my home is near to stdium,i can watch matches from my home window.

  • Amit on January 20, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    great news,stadium looks like kiwis stadium.

  • Neil on January 20, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    What a beautiful ground. Wish I could go to this ground to watch cricket one day.

  • Andrew on January 20, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Great news. The Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj area is a wonderful place to visit and even better now that there will be more of the cricket being on!

  • Agam on January 20, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Gr8 news...its a very beautiful stadium

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