Delay in closing on the renovation work at the scenic Dharamshala ground could see Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association lose out on the third Test of the marquee Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Situated amidst the beautiful Dhauladhar Hills in the lap of the great Himalayas, the ground is due to host the penultimate game of the four-Test series from March 1.
However, failure of the HPCA staff to get the ground and its playing square ready on time could lead to a situation where the BCCI shift venues and allocate the third Test to an alternate ground in the country, reported ESPNcricinfo.
“A final call over the matter is expected within the next few days, based on outcome of an inspection to be done by boards’ team of experts”,
the report said, with Dharamshala not hosting any international game since March 2022, when it was the venue for a set of two T20Is against Sri Lanka, one of which was a rainout game.
Since then, no top-level or domestic fixture has been possible at the ground because of HPCA’s long-drawn work in relaying the whole outfield and installing a new drainage system, especially as the venue receives severe rainfalls in the monsoons and has perennial weather threat looming on it. The work has been going on for close to six months now but hasn’t been completed.
“It is understood that the outfield is still not ready and is interspersed with bald patches where the grass cover has not taken hold yet,”reported ESPNcricinfo.
Given it is a sand-based outfield, the venue requires a high density of grass to ensure it can cover for the likely wear and tear that comes with hosting a full-fledged Test match.
The BCCI sent a pitch inspection team to look over the work done by the HPCA staff on February 3, when it was decided that the state association will be given close to two more weeks before a final call on the venue’s fate for the Test match is ascertained.
The BCCI, on its part, has shortlisted grounds in Pune, Visakhapatnam, Indore and Rajkot as potential replacements for the third Test between the two arch-rivals. Dharamshala has hosted only one Test till date when Australia played the fourth match of their 2017 series in India.