Himachal ready to hold IPL matches in Dharamsala

May 6th, 2011 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, May 6 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) is geared up to play host to Kings XI Punjab’s three home matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at its picturesque stadium in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamsala town, despite some hiccups, match organisers said here Friday.

The HPCA Stadium, located at an altitude of 4,000 feet, is being counted as the second home ground for the Kings XI Punjab team, which originally belongs to Mohali near Chandigarh.

The stadium will host the first IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils May 15 while the match with Royal Challengers is slated for May 17, and with Deccan Chargers May 21.

“The preparations are in full swing to hold the three matches later this month,” HPCA president Anurag Thakur told reporters.

He said with an investment of over Rs.100 crore on the stadium and on an ultra-luxurious residential complex, The Pavilion, the HCPA is confident that everything would go smoothly.

Thakur, a BJP MP from Hamirpur and son of state Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, said like the last season this year too “we are facing problems of hotels for stay of the guests and air connectivity”.

Dhumal said the issue was taken up with the state government.

“Since players and their sponsors travel in chartered plane and direct connectivity with major cities is not available, we have requested the state to take up the expansion of Kangra airport (located near Dharamsala) with the central government.”

For accommodation of the players, the HPCA has constructed 72-room The Pavilion. Last season, there was provision of only 36 log huts.

“The Pavilion would have 36 huts made of imported wood and similar number of concrete rooms,” he said.

The stadium has also attracted the attention of former team India coach Gary Kirsten.

“At his farewell, Kirsten expressed his desire to hold a training camp in Dharamsala,” Thakur said.

Members of the hospitality industry admitted that the spectators might face problems in getting suitable accommodation in Dharamsala during the matches.

The town has 56 registered hotels and guest houses with a bed capacity of 1,100. Similarly, McLeodganj, eight kilometres from Dharamsala, has around 91 registered hotels with a capacity to accommodate 1,000 people.

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