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Doubts emerge over Dharamshala hosting third Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test: Report

New Delhi : Doubts have emerged over the hosting of the third Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia at Dharamshalas picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium, scheduled for March 1-5.

A report in ESPNCricinfo says the third Test could be shifted out of Dharamshala as the ground might not yet be ready to host international cricket after a recent renovation, while adding that the BCCI would take a final call over the next few days, based on what the inspection of the ground to be conducted by the board’s team of experts yields.

“The BCCI, it is learned, has already shortlisted a backup venue, but will only announce that if Dharamshala is ruled out. A shortlist of backup venues where the third Test could be moved include Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Pune and Indore,” said the report.

Dharamshala has previously hosted one Test, which was the fourth and final match of the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which India, captained by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, won by eight wickets to win the series 2-1.

The last time international cricket was played in Dharamshala was the back-to-back T20Is between India and Sri Lanka in February 2022. Since then, no cricket has been played at the ground located in the Dhauladhar mountain range because the HPCA decided to relay the outfield and get a new drainage system.

It meant that the Himachal Pradesh team in the Ranji Trophy played its home matches in Nadaun. “It is understood that the outfield still is not ready, and is interspersed with a bald patch where the grass cover has not taken hold yet.

It is learned that an inspection was carried out by the BCCI’s team on February 3, and then it was decided that a final call will be taken after another round of inspecting, scheduled for this weekend.”

“The inspection team will determine if the outfield is fit and safe and can withstand the wear and tear that accompanies a Test match. It is understood the outfield is sand-based, which experts say requires a dense grass cover,” added the report.



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