Of Woolmer's praise, birthdays and rain god

Hp

On the threshold of realising his dream of turning the picturesque arena here into an international stadium, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association president, Anurag Thakur today recollected the time when his efforts had been praised by then South African coach, Bob Woolmer.

It is common knowledge that Thakur, a Lok Sabha MP from the state's Hamirpur district, has worked tirelessly to acquire international status for the stadium.

"It was way back in 2005, when this was far from reality. Bob (Woolmer) told me that this stadium will be one of the best in the world in days to come. When ICC match referee David Boon came for a final inspection, he wrote 'No more inspection required' and I instantly remembered Bob's words," Thakur recalled.

"I Still can't believe that he (Woolmer) is no more," Thakur told a select gathering during a private party organised by HPCA for the visiting scribes.

Woolmer was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his hotel room after Pakistan's unexpected elimination at the hands of Ireland in the 2007 World Cup. He was coaching the Pakistan national team then.

Different cricketers, different birthdays: A senior HPCA office bearer today informed that Inzamam-ul Haq was supposedly ecstatic when he came to know that officials here were distributing 20 kg laddoos to people who had come to watch the touring Pakistan side's warm-up game against India A way back in 2005.

"Inzy bhai later told us that aise toh kisine mera birthday Pakistan mein bhi naahin manaya (no one has ever celebrated my birthday like this in Pakistan)," the official said.

However, cut to January 2013, the officials were late in knowing that yesterday was Cheteshwar Pujara's 25th birthday.

A day after though, they arranged for a big cake for the birthday boy and it was cut in the dressing room after the team's training session.

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