Dharamsala gets clearance for Test matches

Shimla, Nov 10 (IANS) The picturesque stadium of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) in Dharamsala town is all set to host Test matches with the International Cricket Council (ICC) giving its clearance, an HPCA official said here on Tuesday.

“The ICC has approved the stadium for Test matches,” HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood told IANS.

Sood 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.

The HPCA is seeing it as a major achievement in showcasing its showpiece venue, located at an altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level, with the mighty snow-clad Dhauladhar ranges forming the backdrop.

In 2012, the HPCA’s showpiece stadium got the permission to host international matches.

The stadium, 250 km from state capital Shimla, has a 21,600-seat capacity, besides a world-class indoor stadium comprising video analysis facilities, a club lounge, restaurant, bar and banquet hall.

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.

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