Amidst the joy of India winning the first Test against Australia of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 series in Nagpur, questions are being raised over how ready the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium in Dharamshala is to host the third Test of the series.
And if the match has to be shifted out of the venue, then reports are filtering out that the YSR ACA VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam might get to host the important third Test match between the top two ranked Test sides.
The second Test of the series will be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi from February 17 onwards.
But though Dharamshala is scheduled to host the third Test match, the HPCA had re-laid the entire outfield, including the pitch. Though the pitch is untested, it is not a major concern, however, a small patch near the pitch is yet to be completed and that is the cause of worry.
The HPCA had made plans to relay the entire outfield keeping the local weather conditions in mind. The relaying work started post-monsoon.
“There is still some work that needs to be done near the side area of the pitch. We are hopeful that things will be ready before the game. The HPCA will take a call after the BCCI inspection. We have relaid the whole surface with proper drainage and have added sprinklers to the ground. Some work is still pending and as three weeks are left we feel the work will be completed,” a source in HPCA had said to Indian Express on Friday.
BCCI has shortlisted venues like Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Pune and Indore as options to host the third Test match if Dharamshala fails to get ready in time.
The BCCI is mulling shifting the Test match out of Dharamshala due to uncertainty of readiness, and being one of the possible venues, Andhra Pradesh’s Cricket Association official has said they would be honored if asked to host the match.
“Though we are yet to be contacted by the BCCI, we will be honored if we are asked to host the Test match. We are ready to make all arrangements on a grand note. Already the stadium is being decked up for the India -Australia One Day International (ODI) match scheduled on March 19,” an ACA official told the Hindu.
So far, Visakhapatnam has hosted two Test matches. The first test was conducted in November 2016 between India and England and the last one was held in October 2019 between India and South Africa.
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