The fourth one-day match of the five-game series between India and West Indies will be played at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, an offbeat venue for the game of cricket. Both teams would be keen to snatch the lead in the series. At the same time, they would also look to enjoy their time while in Dharamshala owing to the spectacular location. Here’s a look at some interesting trivia related to the stadium, and its cricket connection.
The Dharamshala stadium, which is owned by the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), has been built at an altitude of 1,457 m above sea level.
The view for watching and playing cricket at Dharamshala is highly picturesque, and rather breathtaking, as there are the Himalayan mountains in the background.
Away from cricket, Dharamshala is renowned internationally as the home of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Some cricket pundits have actually rated Dharamshala as the fastest pitch in the country.
So far, only one international match has been held at the scenic stadium. India took on England in an ODI in January 2013. England won the match, comprehensively by seven wickets. Incredibly, the match went ahead in spite of snow engulfing the place in the preceding weeks.
The venue is yet to host a Test match. Pakistan have played a match here. But, it was against an India A side back in the year 2005.
Dharamshala is actually the second home ground of 2014 IPL runners-up Kings XI Punjab although they have not hosted any international T20s yet.
The stadium also hosts the home matches of Himachal Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy as well as the country’s other domestic features.
Renowned international coach Dav Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup win back in 1996, actually recommended Dharamshala as a stadium that can host international matches during his tenure as director at the Indian National Cricket Academy.
Anurag Thakur, the chief of HPCA, is credited with making Dharamshala ready for international standard cricket.
Getting to Dharamshala is difficult because of its location, and its hilly terrain. Also, due to heavy rain and snow during winter, hosting constant international matches over there is a massive challenge.
The nearest airport to reach Dharamshala is Gaggal Airport, which is a good 15 kms away.
The Government College of Dharamshala, which was built way back during the British Raj, is actually located behind the cricket stadium.
--By A Cricket Analyst