The Barabati stadium here hosting the ICC Women’s World Cup cricket witnessed an unprecedented event on Friday that was never a part of the cultural capital of the State.

Gun toting policemen and security personnel significantly outnumbered the Cuttack spectators in the stadium that was hosting an international event.

While the much-hyped Women’s World Cup began here and at another ground located on the outskirts of the city, the picturesque Barabati stadium saw the presence of nearly 135 sections of armed police, over 50 officers and 600 private security guards to control fewer than 500 spectators, including a battery of journalists and photographers. Contrary to overexcited arrangements by the organisers and the State government, the protests against the presence of Pakistan players here, have fizzled out and it was negligible on Friday.

The men in uniform had a gala time watching the eves’ cricket match after taking into custody of some 20 protestors of Utkal Bharat party.

The unenthusiastic response to the World Cup cricket matches by Cuttack spectators has however, put the host Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) in a fix as the OCA mandarins had all along were advocating that the World Cup matches here would benefit the women cricketers of the State in honing their talents.

But the number of spectators on the opening day of the tournament has disheartened the OCA officials, who are now pondering how to fill the stands for the remaining matches. Like any other centre in the country, Cuttack stadium witness a full-house when the home team is playing here. And moreover, the women’s cricket is not a crowd puller like the men’s.

“High security, strict frisking and ban on cellphones to the stands are the main causes for poor turnout,” said a spectator suggesting that the OCA should rope in school kids to fill the two stands they have thrown open to public.

  • Over 50 officers and 600 private security guards to control fewer than 500 spectators

  • Ban on cellphones main cause for poor turnout