Proud to host World T20 matches: Himachal cricket official

Shimla, Dec 12 (IANS) With the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamsala all set to host 10 World T20 matches next year, a HPCA official said on Saturday that it is a proud moment for the state.

“It’s a moment of pride and honour that our small state and the HPCA have been allotted eight men’s matches and two women’s in the upcoming T20 World Cup making Dharamsala one of the biggest and most sought after venues in India,” HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood told reporters here.

He said the matches would be lined up from March 9 to 24.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament will be staged across eight venues in India from March 8 to April 3. A total of 58 matches, including 35 men’s matches and 23 women’s matches, will be played during the 27-day tournament.

Sood said excitement would be high at two matches where arch-rivals India and Pakistan and Australia and New Zealand clash with each other.

He said matches between India and Pakistan have also offered opportunities for cricket diplomacy as a means to improve relations between the two countries by allowing heads of state to exchange visits and cricket fans to watch some high quality action.

“We are expecting a lot of activity — diplomatically and otherwise – evolved around the matches,” he said.

HPCA officials, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur said the stadium’s popularity soared with the hosting of nine Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, two India-England and India-West Indies ODIs and one Twenty20 match between South Africa and India.

The stadium, 250 km from state capital Shimla, has a 20,400-seating capacity, besides separate practice areas, a club lounge, restaurant, bar and banquet hall.

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