Test match in Dharamsala will go till the fifth day, says chief curator Sunil Chauhan
The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamsala will be hosting its first ever Test match during series against Australia in 2017, according to the schedule released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Though the stadium, till date, has hosted only limited overs cricket, the chief curator of the pitch believes that it is ideal for Test cricket and the match is likely to go to the last day.
In a season that will be a treat for purists and Test match lovers, India will play 13 Test matches at home including matches against Bangladesh, New Zealand, England and Australia. There will be a one-off Test against Bangladesh at Hyderabad, three against New Zealand, five against England and four against Australia. Dates for these matches have not been announced yet but the months have already been decided.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda over the phone, chief curator Sunil Chauhan, who has been looking after the pitch since the stadium was made, sounded happy and confident about Dharamsala hosting a Test match. Chauhan said it was about time that a Test match happened at Dharamsala and the wicket was perfectly suitable for the game’s longest format.
“The conditions in Dharamsala will be ideal for Test cricket as the climate in the months of February and March will be on the cool, which makes it perfect. Moreover, the track in Dharamsala is wonderful and has something for batsmen and bowlers. I am pretty confident that the match will last for five days,” Chauhan said.
The last time a team toured India (South Africa), a lot of hue and cry was created over the fact that Test matches got over within three or four days due to the wickets being rank turners. However, according to Chauhan, that will not be the case with Dharamsala as it has good bounce and plenty in it for the seemers. “The wicket in Dharamsala will have good bounce as the soil is hard. Spinners can get something out of it but the pitch is ideal for fast bowling.”
Upon being asked about the reason behind this wicket being different from others in the country, Chauhan said, “The soil quality is more suited for fast bowling. Furthermore, the climate helps in good binding of the soil and it is pretty chilly during February-March, meaning that fast bowlers will enjoy bowling on this wicket.”
Chauhan also said that the wicket in Dharamsala is excellent for batting as the ball will come on to the bat quite well. “This is a true wicket and batsman who time the ball well will get good value for their shots. Yes, there will be assistance for pacers but batsmen who get their eyes in will have a great time on this pitch,” he added.
Cricket has certainly been growing in the upper half of North India in every aspect. While Dharamsala has been added to the Test match fold, players like Rishi Dhawan and Pervez Rasool along with administrators like Anurag Thakur are giving the game a push in India’s more mountainous regions.