The first ODI of the upcoming three-match series between India and South Africa will take place at the Dharamsala International Cricket Stadium on March 12th.
It follows the return of international cricket to Himachal Pradesh last September, when a T20I match between the two same sides was meant to have taken place as what has been described as the most beautiful cricket ground in India, because of its locations with the mountains towering over it in the distance.
Unfortunately, on that occasion, the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to persistent rain so next match, if it goes ahead as planned, will be a first.
The last time an international; cricket match took place in the city was In November 2017, when Sri Lanka were the visitors. Several IPL matches have taken place there in the past, but a dispute between the local cricket Authority (HPCA) and the Congress Party, who were in charge of the local state government at the time, meant that no IPL matches have been staged in the areas since 2013.
The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Authority (HPCA) has been trying to gain test match status for the ground for some time, and hosting the ODI is another step on that path.
Historically, cricket has proved to be a big boost for local tourism, with thousands of extra visitors attracted to the area because of it. Local hoteliers are expecting an influx of tourists, valuable at a time when numbers are down because of the weather.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja, who will expect to feature in the squad for the match in Dharamsala has been refused permission to play in the Ranji Trophy final for Saurashtra. His domestic side had wanted the all-rounder to appear in the final against Bengal, but BCCI chairman Sourav Ganguly has refused to authorise it, saying that the needs of the country come first.
Jadeja is one of the centrally contracted players to the BCCI, which means that they are his principal employer, and have the right to release him, or not, to take part in other matches.
The Ranji Trophy final will be held in March 9thm three days before the T20I in Dharamsala.
According to the latest ICC rankings, Jadeja is the 7th ranked ODI all-rounder and 21st in the list of bowlers.