Cricket fever grips Dharamshala town

Dharamshala: The long awaited International cricket has finally arrived in Dharamshala town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The town nestles in the backdrop of snow clad majestic Dhauladhar mountain ranges of the mighty Himalayas.

This week, Dharamshala is gripped in cricket fever as India and England cricket teams reached the town for the fifth and final One Day International (ODI) match scheduled to be held here on January 27.

Both the teams arrived at Gaggal Airport today afternoon by a chartered flight and headed straight to the “The Pavilion”- the five star residential complex of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).

HPCA officials along with the girl performers from the Central University of Himachal Pradesh (CUHP) in traditional Kinnauri dresses welcomed the members of both teams at the airport, whereas HPCA president, Anurag Thakur welcomed the teams at “The Pavilion”.

The match was originally scheduled as a day-night fixture. Now, it has been changed to day time from 9am – 5pm to avoid a bone-chilling evening at the mercy of floodlights. This cricket match is the first international game to be hosted by Dharamshala.

“It is going to be a historic day for the small hill state,” said HPCA President Anurag Thakur who has been instrumental in setting up the ground adding that after achieving the feat, the next step would be to hold a test match.

Meanwhile, worried over the unpredictable weather in the region, Anurag Thakur also visited the temple of local deity- the “serpent god”- Indrunag and performed a “Puja” praying for clear weather.

It is worth mentioning that members of HPCA earlier had organized regular “Pujas” at the temple during IPL matches, praying the Indrunag for clear weather. The practice has indeed been proved fruitful for most occasions.

It is widely being reported  that star players including injured Indian Captain, MS Dhoni, may opt to sit out of the game, along with Aswin ,Ishant and Ghambhir to give way to Mishra, Pujara and Dinda, so that they can prove their mettle for the coming Australian tour.

Meanwhile, the English players will enjoy playing in the town in homelike climatic conditions and will try to reduce the margin in the series to 3-2.
The Dharamshala India-England match being the last of the current series, the prize distribution ceremony is expected to attract top BCCI officials to the venue.

For hosting summer cricket, the venue is perfect, but it is yet to be seen how it treats a winter match.
At an altitude of 1317 meters, the Dharamshala stadium is the first full-fledged stadium in Himachal Pradesh.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

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