Dharamsala: Apr 13, 2012
With the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium all set to host its first international match, HPCA President Anurag Thakur has said that ICC representative and former Aussie batsman David Boon gave his go-ahead to the venue after inspecting it last year.
Dharamsala, which has been hosting IPL matches for the past two seasons, will host an One-day International for the first time during India's home series against England between November 2012 and January 2012.
"Former Australian cricketer David Boon came here on December 12 last year for inspection and gave his go ahead to the HPCA stadium," said Thakur.
"As he entered the stadium, he said, 'I have nothing to inspect here as I'm witnessing the world's best-ever cricketing setting here. The facilities are good and I would be waiting for the day when the one-day match between Indian and England will be played here. I also want to witness that match'. Those were the words of a great cricketer," he added.
Thakur said that even former Aussie great and current skipper of Kings XI Punjab Adam Gilchrist was bowled over by the HPCA stadium.
"Former Australian wicketkeeper and IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab's skipper Adam Gilchrist also wants to settle down here in Dharamsala. When he got the feel of the stadium for the first time, he said, 'This is one of the prettiest stadia in the world'.
"We are looking forward to host England here during the series," Thakur said on the sidelines of a friendly cricket match between India and UK's Members of Parliament here.
Apart from Dharamsala, a newly-constructed stadium in Rajkot will also host a match, while the stadium in Pune will host a Twenty20 International.
From November to January, India will host England for four-match Test series, five ODIs and two T20 Internationals followed by Australia series, which will be a four-Test series.
Meanwhile, the HPCA stadium, situated at a height of 4,000 feet, has been chosen to play host to a friendly cricket match between the Parliamentarians of India and England.
"British MPs used to meet us through their embassy and we would talk about our culture and heritage. India and Britain share a very strong bonding and our relations are very old.
"Cricket is one game that unites both the nations. We want that MPs from both the countries meet regularly through some exchange programme and cricket has become that medium.
This year, they have come here to play and next year, we would be going there," Thakur, who is also the BCCI joint secretary, said.
Asked about the facilities and infrastructure available in this hilly town that will play host to international cricketers, Thakur said, "The Pavilion hotel has very good facilities and infrastructure and the stadium got the BCCI sanction only after the ICC's approval.
"I don't want to take names but there are many cricket centres in India, which don't have any of the facilities available such as the stadium, the hotel and even an airport.
All the facilities are available here at Dharamsala and we are ready to host international teams.
"We have already hosted four IPL matches. So it's not about hosting one international match. It's been eight years that we are hosting the cricket matches," insisted Thakur.
He also ruled out suggestions to decrease the seating capacity of the stadium.
"The capacity of the stadium is 20,000 at present and we are not going to decrease that," he said. (PTI)