Dharamshala stadium to be ready by April 15, says HPCA

High on spirits after getting the nod to host this season’s Indian Premier League matches, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) on Wednesday said the cricket stadium in the hill town of Dharamshala would be ready for the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament by April 15.

HPCA president Anurag Thakur, who played a key role in bringing the IPL to the hill state, said the the upgradation of the stadium will be done as per international guidelines and the installation of floodlights would be completed within next 15 days.

“The venue of Twenty20 IPL matches at Dharamshala Cricket Stadium will be completed according to international standards by April 15,” Thakur said in a statement.

“The work on installation of flood lights is on war footing and will be completed in next 15 days,” he added.

In place of Delhi, Jaipur and Vishakapatnam, the IPL officials have included Dharamshala and Ahmedabad as the new venues in their revised third schedule submitted to the Home Ministry after the concerned state governments expressed their unwillingness to host the matches due to security reasons during the general elections that coincides with the event.

The HPCA president said the stadium in Dharamshala boasts of all the necessary world-class facilities required to host international matches.

“The stadium has been constructed with initial cost of Rs 35 crore and it has seating capacity of 18,500 visitors. It has separate boxes for corporate and media. It’s also got sauna and gymnasium club house for the players,” Thakur said.

The stadium in Dharamshala, which is situated 4000 feet above the sea level and has the beautiful Dhauldahar mountains in the back drop, has already hosted an international match between India ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ team, besides holding various domestic games.

Thakur also viewed Dharamshala will be an added attraction for the cricket lovers and tourists after the IPL matches.

“The valley attracts maximum foreign tourists during this period and it will further add to the promotion of tourism in the state,” he said.

The HPCA president also said the Chief Minister of the state has already informed the Home Ministry that they are in a position to hold the IPL matches by themselves without central forces.

“Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has already told the Union Government that the state will provide fool-proof security to the event at its own level and there is no need for any paramilitary forces,” Thakur said.

“The Chief Minister has directed the police and home department to make elaborate security arrangements for the players and the visitors,” he added.

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