Image Source: Twitter/BCCI/ Dharamshala venue
HPCA is under pressure to have the Dharamshala stadium ready for the third Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test starting March 1. The entire outfield, including the pitch, has been relaid, but a "small patch near the square" still needs to be completed causing concern. BCCI is keeping its options open and will inspect the conditions on February 12 with its inspection team, including the curator. The recent rains have delayed work and if the weather doesn't improve, it could lead to further issues for the groundskeepers. HPCA remains hopeful that the ground will be ready in time for the third Test, two weeks from now.
According to Indian Express, the HPCA Stadium may lose the rights to host the IND vs AUS 3rd Test due to unfinished outfield work. The HPCA had started relaying the outfield but it has yet to be completed and the recent rains have caused further delays. The picturesque stadium in Dharamshala is facing difficulties in being ready in time.
“There is still some work need to be done near the side area of the pitch. We are hopeful that things will be ready before the game,” an HPCA source told the Indian Express.
The venue decision is set to be announced next week. With just over two weeks till the game, HPCA is working to be ready. BCCI's inspection team, including the curator, will visit on Feb 12 to assess the conditions and determine Dharamshala's fate. Mohali and Bangalore are potential alternate venues. HPCA remains confident they will host the game, despite unfinished work. They believe the stadium will be ready in the coming weeks. This will only be the second Test hosted by the ground, the first being 6 years ago when Australia visited India.
“The HPCA will take a call after the BCCI inspection. We have relaid whole surface with proper drainage and have added sprinkle to the ground. Some work is still pending and as three weeks is left we feel the work will be completed,” a source in HPCA said.
BCCI is also worried that the HPCA stadium has not been tested with any matches since the repair. Typically, domestic games are played there before hosting India games. Himachal Pradesh played their home games at Nadaun during the Ranji Trophy.
If the game is relocated, Mohali and Bengaluru are potential options, with Mohali being close to Delhi where the second Test was held. The final decision will be made after inspecting the Dharamshala surface.
A source told Indian Express that a final call is expected by Monday or Tuesday, with curators at a new venue also needing time to prepare the pitch in case of a move.