Fire rituals, a gate dedicated to the rain god... the Himachal cricket authorities are on a holy mission to keep the skies from opening up ahead of three Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to be held here from May 15.
“We have made enough preparations for the smooth conduct of the matches and now we are praying to god to keep the weather dry,” said Anurag Thakur, president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
Thakur said the town witnessed a few thundershowers just a few hours before the match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in April last year.
Hosting three games
The stadium will host three IPL games, all involving Kings XI Punjab.
The first will be against Delhi Daredevils on May 15, versus Royal Challengers on May 17 and against Deccan Chargers on May 21.
Gate for god
The HPCA has also constructed a big concrete gate dedicated to Lord Indrunag.
One of the newest cricket venues in the country, the stadium is situated nearly 4,000 feet above sea level.
This time, the HPCA is planning to use modern technology to get the ground ready quickly in case of rain.
Pitch curator Sanjay Chauhan said that even if it rained, the ground would be made ready in no time.
“The drainage system is more efficient now and four water soaking machines will be used to drain out the water.
A light weight plastic cover has been imported from Britain to cover the entire ground within five minutes,” he said.
In 2005, when the stadium hosted a warm-up game between Pakistan and Board President's XI, it was badly affected by rain.
The stadium, some 250 km from State capital Shimla, has a seating capacity of 20,400, besides separate practice pitches.
Dharamsala is regarded as the second home of Kings XI Punjab after Mohali. — IANS