Glossy Dharamsala set to welcome IPL

New pitch

This picturesque town in Himachal Pradesh is all set to welcome the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. The stadium here will be the highest cricket ground to host IPL matches and among those expected to watch is Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Organisers believe the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium’s popularity will soar with the two IPL matches scheduled this month. “We are racing against time to complete the formalities for hosting two IPL matches on April 16 and 18. This is the first time that IPL matches are being held in the Dharamsala stadium that has been constructed at a cost of Rs 50 crore,” HPCA president Anurag Thakur said.

The HPCA stadium, one of the newest venues in the country, is situated nearly 4,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the majestic Dhauladhar ranges that make it one of the most beautiful grounds in the world. “This stadium is going to make its presence felt in the international cricket arena in a big way. It has been constructed as per international standards and it’s the highest cricket ground to host IPL matches,” said Thakur, an MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh. The stadium, some 250 km from state capital Shimla, has a seating capacity of 20,000, besides separate practice areas, a club lounge, restaurant, bar and banquet hall.

The HPCA stadium had lost the opportunity to hold the IPL matches last year because of a last-minute change in the venue of matches by organisers. “Had IPL not shifted to South Africa, Dharamsala would have hosted the matches last year.”

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