Take a Tour of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium

The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, often abbreviated to the HPCA Stadium, is a beautiful cricket stadium located on the Dharamshala District of Himachal Pradesh. It is the home stadium of the Himachal Pradesh cricket team. It was built in 2003 and can accommodate 23,000 spectators. To date, it has hosted 2 T20s matches, 3 ODIs, and 1 Test Match.

The History of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium

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The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) was created in 1960 to improve the state of cricket in Himachal. However, the BCCI did not grant them affiliation status until 1984. Then, they were considered nothing but minnows all the way up to 2000. Things started to change when Anurag Thakur took over. He realised that the sky could be the limit for cricket in Himachal, so set about making this happen. Soon after he took over, he started to address the issues that he thought was holding cricket back in the region. He questioned why Himachal cricketers were treated with a lack of respect in domestic cricket. He came to realise that the answer to his question was that they lacked exposure, grounds, facilities, and infrastructure.

The HPCA had always had the dream of creating their own stadium, but nobody took up the challenge. That was until Thakur took over, of course. He started looking for land that could be used to build a stadium on and in 2002, at a function that was attended by thousands of locals, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Professor Prem Kumar Dhumal, handed over the necessary papers to the HPCA. The land that was given to them was situated nearly 1,500m above sea level and has the beautiful Himalayan mountains in the distance. They started to build the stadium soon after and it was finished in 2003.

The ground cost 60 crore to build, but when you visit you will see that it was money well spent. It has all the modern facilities that you will find in cricket grounds all over the world. For example, there are spacious and luxurious dressing rooms, a gym with all the necessary equipment, outdoor and indoor training areas, commentary boxes, a press gallery, a clubhouse, and one of the best views in world cricket.

If all this wasn’t enough, it also has a fantastic irrigation system to ensure that play is never abandoned due to a waterlogged outfield. Now, thanks to Thakur’s willingness to get the ball rolling, the cricketers of the region have facilities available to them that make many cricketers around India very jealous indeed.

The first international cricket game at this stadium was an ODI match against England on the 27th January 2013. India batted first and scored 226 runs, with Suresh Raina top scoring with 83. In reply, England chased their target down with 16 balls to spare, thanks to a magnificent 113* from Ian Bell. England only lost 3 wickets in the process, meaning that they won the match by 7 wickets. The ground has also hosted World Cup matches as it was chosen as one of the venues for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 that took place in India. The India v Pakistan match in that tournament was scheduled to take place here, but the Pakistani players refused to play there due to security reasons, meaning the match was moved to Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

"India will host the 2023 Cricket World Cup and there is a very good chance that this picturesque ground will be chosen to host some of the matches."

What Interesting Matches Have Been Played Here?

  • India V Australia in 2017: This is the only test match that has been played at this stadium, but those who were in attendance at least got to see an entertaining match. Australia batted first and scored 300 runs thanks to a class century from Steve Smith (111) and two half-centuries from David Warner (56) and Matthew Wade (57). In their first innings, India scored 332 runs thanks to half-centuries from Kannaur Rahul (60), Cheteshwar Pujara (57), and Ravindra Jadeja (63). With a deficit of just 32 runs, Australia would have thought they were well in the game, but they were bowled out in their second innings for just 137 This meant that India needed just 105 runs to win, which they got within 24 overs. This meant that India won the match by 8 wickets.
  • India V West Indies in 2014: This was a day and night ODI that was played on the 17th October. India batted first in the match and notched up an impressive 330/6 from their 50 overs thanks to a stunning 127 from Virat Kohli. Ajinkya Rahane (68)and Suresh Raina (71) also chipped in with valuable contributions. In reply, the West Indies were bowled out for 271 with 11 balls remaining. Marlon Samuels was the standout player for the visitors as he scored 112 from 106 The 5 main bowlers that India used all picked up 2 wickets each to help India to a 59-run win.
  • Bangladesh V Netherlands in 2016: This was a Group A World T20 match that was played on the 9th March. Bangladesh batted first and scored 153 from their 20 overs, thanks mainly to Tamim Iqbal’s 83 runs from 58 In reply to Bangladesh’s score, the Dutch could only knock up 145 runs, meaning that Bangladesh won the match by just 8 runs.
  • Australia V New Zealand in 2016: This was a Super 10, Group 2, World T20 match that was played on the 18th March. New Zealand batted first and scored 142 runs, with nobody going on to score a high score. In reply, Australia could only manage 134 runs from their 20 overs, meaning the Kiwis won the match by a meagre 8

Some Fun Statistics to Enjoy

  • Virat Kohli has scored the most ODI runs at this stadium. In the 3 matches that he has played here, he has scored 212 runs (1 century and 1 half-century) at an average of 00.
  • When it comes to T20I matches, Tamim Iqbal is at the top of the pile. In the 3 matches that he has played here, he has scored 233 runs (1 century and 1 half-century) at an average of 00.
  • Suranga Lakmal (Sri Lanka), Tim Bresnan (England), Hardik Pandya (India), and Umesh Yadav all have 4 ODI wickets at this stadium.
  • Paul van Meekeren and Shakib Al Hasan have picked up the most T20 wickets at this stadium. They have 6 wickets each, but van Meekeren is at the top of the table due to the fact that he got 6 wickets for 28 runs while Al Hasan got 6 wickets for 44
  • Ravindra Jadeja has conceded the most ODI runs in a single innings at this ground. In a match against the West Indies in 2014, he was smacked for 80 runs from the 9 overs that he bowled.
  • Oman’s Munis Ansari has conceded the most T20 runs in a single innings at this stadium. In a match against Bangladesh in 2016, he conceded 50 runs from the 4 overs that he bowled. This meant that his economy at the end of the game was 50.

Should You Go and Watch a Game at This Stadium?

This is a stunning cricket ground located in one of the most beautiful places in India, so of course you should go if there is a match being played there while you are in Dharamshala. However, try to keep your eyes on the cricket and not the majestic mountains that you can see in the background. Alongside the beautiful scenery, you will get to experience an electrifying atmosphere. Also, how often will you get to watch a cricket match at the highest stadium in the world? Many cricket grounds in India will not let members of the public in unless there is a match about to be played, but the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, you will be glad to hear, is not one of these stadiums. For a small fee, you will be able to take a look around the stadium and some take some fantastic photographs. We recommend that you go during the morning or in the early evening so that you are not walking about during the heat of the day.

Is it Easy to Get to the Stadium?

You can get to this stadium by bus and you won’t have to walk far as there are stops situated quite close to the venue. However, due to the hilly terrain, you should be prepared for quite a bumpy ride if you decide to take the bus. If you would like a more comfortable journey to the stadium then we recommend that you get a taxi. Once you have experienced this stadium, either for a match or a tour, you will probably be wondering what else there is to do in this city.

Well, we think that you really should make an effort to visit the Norbulingka Institute, the Gyuto Monastery, the Aghanjar Mahadev Temple, the Tushita Meditation Centre, the Church of St. John, and Bhagsu Waterfall. Obviously, as you are not a local, you will need to find a nice hotel to stay in for the duration of your visit. Thankfully, you will not have any issues here as there are plenty of hotels to choose from. No matter what you are looking for, you will be able to find something that will make your stay in this delightful part of India even more pleasurable.