Report 9 : The ICC gave its seal of approval to the scenic stadium of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) in Dharamshala to host Test matches, said an HPCA official.
“The ICC has approved the stadium for Test matches,” HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood said.
Sood also said HPCA president Anurag Thakur, who is also Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, had been consistently pursuing the case of the Dharamsala ground with the ICC to get the Test playing status.
It is a major achievement for the HPCA which is located in the hometown of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Situated at an altitude of 1,457m above sea level with the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains in the background, the HPCA’s showpiece stadium got the permission to host international matches in 2012.
With a seating capacity of 21,600 apart from a world-class indoor stadium comprising video analysis facilities, a club lounge, restaurant, bar and banquet hall, the HPCA is about 250 km from the state capital Shimla.
The first ODI was played between India and England in January 2013, which England won by 7 wickets. The second ODI was played between India and West Indies on 17th October 2014 in which India beat the West Indies by 59 runs.
The popularity of the venue soared after nine Indian Premier League (IPL) matches were held there.
In the last IPL season, Dharamsala was not allotted a single match owing to the tussle between the Congress-led state government and the HPCA.
The HPCA venue is the first in India to use winter rye grass scattered around the outfield, which prevents the grass from dying when the temperatures falls below 10 degrees celsius.