Dharamsala: The town hosting the fourth ODI between India and the West Indies was in doubt till as recently as last week due to logistical issues, prompting the HPCA president Anurag Thakur to say that the state government must do more to promote the game in the hill station.
"We at (HPCA and BCCI) have brought international cricket to Dharamsala despite various hurdles. Till date there no five-star accommodation and lack of sufficient commercial flights and rail network are hindering the growth of sport in the region. It is time for the government to take the game to the next level," Thakur told PTI today.
"Unfortunately there are people who don't see cricket's tremendous role in the developing the place," he added.
Both India and West Indies teams will be arriving here in chartered flights tomorrow for the second ever ODI at the HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) Stadium on Friday.
Thakur is already fighting a legal battle for HPCA against the state for alleged land violations. To add to the troubles, Himachal Pradesh high court on Tuesday issued notices to the state association, BCCI and King XI Punjab over not paying for security for IPL matches in the city since 2010. The three parties have time to reply to the court till December 9.
"We will file our reply in court," said Thakur when asked about his next step.
Talking more about challenges in organising matches in Dharamsala, Thakur said: "Not many knew about Mohali until a stadium was built there. The same is the case with Dharamsala. The government should help the state in organising international cricket. We have built the stadium, now they can build longer runways at the airport so that bigger planes can land, leading to the flight fares coming down."
There is doubt whether the game will see a full house in the festive season. HPCA spokesperson said around 11,000 of the 17,000 tickets on offer have been sold and he expects brisk sale today and tomorrow.
Thakur added: "We understand it is a festival season but I request people to come to the stadium for the match and hopefully celebrate Diwali with India's win."
The five-match series is tied at 1-1.