Dharamsala ready for its 1st ODI: Anurag Thakur
Snowcapped mountains and cool weather welcome you to Dharamsala where the last one-day international of the five-match series between India and England will be played on January 27, 2013. The encounter will be the first international match to be hosted by the HPCA Cricket Stadium and the excitement generated by the impending game is evident as you enter the stadium premises, which are abuzz with activity. The officials and those involved are busy ensuring that everything goes smoothly. And overseeing everything personally and answering queries patiently, including doubts about the weather that were raised over the last few days, was the BCCI Hony. Joint Secretary and HPCA President, Mr. Anurag Thakur.
While interacting with the media ahead of the momentous the occasion, he said, “The cricket match itself is special. We have been waiting for this [day] for the last 10 years since the inception of this cricket ground, and it is happening finally.”
“We want every player who is coming to the stadium to feel comfortable,” he added while elaborating on the facilities provided on the premises. “There are two practice areas, which include 24 practice pitches. There is an indoor facility with six practice pitches and a rehabilitation centre and a gymnasium facility with sauna, steam, spa and everything, so that the players can get everything at one venue,” he said.
“We have planted a new variety of grass, which can sustain extreme cold conditions. It will be green even in extreme winters,” he said while talking about the ground that is in of the most picturesque locations in the country. A moat separates the green outfield from the stands, which have an unhindered view of the ground.
While talking about the pitch he said, “There is something both for the bowlers and the batsmen.”
“We have spent lakhs on purchasing pitch and ground cover. We can practically cover 100 percent if it rains within 10-15 minutes. […] We got it especially for ODIs. We did not want to take any chance with the rain. We will be able to cover it fast and remove it fast,” he added.
When asked about the possibility of playing Test matches here, he said, “As a cricketer and administrator, I feel that is the ultimate thing. When we started building this place, we wanted to have a facility different from the other states, something which is not available anywhere in the world. And that is what we have created here. [...] It can provide high-altitude training. The idea is that anyone who comes for rehab and training purpose, should benefit. We are well equipped. After this ODI, we will be pitching in for a Test match.”