Thousands throng Barabati Stadium

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Cricket fever: Police regulating the queue outside the Barabati Stadium on the final day of Challenger Cup Trophy in Cuttack on Sunday. –
Cricket fever: Police regulating the queue outside the Barabati Stadium on the final day of Challenger Cup Trophy in Cuttack on Sunday. –

Pradip Kumar Das

Pyrotechnics marks the end of ‘Challenger Cup Trophy’

CUTTACK: It was gala time for cricket buffs in Cuttack city over the past week. Notwithstanding inclement weather and incessant rains, cricket enthusiasts thronged the refurbished Barabati stadium to witness the ‘Challenger Cup Trophy’ matches that began here since Thursday.

On the final match played between India Blue and India Red on Sunday, at least 40,000 people witnessed it while another 10,000 were waiting outside to make an entry into the stadium. Since the stadium gates were thrown open free, without tickets, cricket lovers came in large numbers to see their favourite players in action.

Police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge in front of the stadium on Sunday afternoon to quell the rushing crowd after the stands were busting at the seams much before the match started. The mood of the cricket fans was upbeat as over 20 internationals are featuring in all three participating teams.

Enthusiastic fans

“We had planned much before to enter the stadium in time to occupy the vantage places in the gallery”, said a group of college students sitting in Gallery No. 1. We had sufficient foodstuffs and drinking water with us as we would remain inside the stadium for nearly 12 hours, said Piyush from the group.

Binayak and his friends of nearby school were however not lucky as they could not enter into the stadium since the stands were filled within hours after it was open around 12 noon. Not deterred by the police lathi-charge, they were seen loitering in the vicinity to sneak into the stadium given an opportunity.

“I was thrilled seeing my favourite star Robin Utthapa of Indian Blue hitting the ball to all corners of the ground to have a pre-Diwali bash. This came just after minutes of a spectacular fire show organised by the Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) during the breaks of the match”, said Sanjay, witnessing the match from the pavilion. Sanjay claimed that he had seen all the four matches of the tournament.

Like the cricket fans, the OCA executive members are also excited over the successful completion of the tournament.

“We have arranged for a massive cracker and fire show after the end of the match”, said OCA secretary Asirbad Behera.

Since this is a prelude to next month’s ODI between India and England at the venue, OCA had made elaborate arrangements for the success of the tournament.

Starting from a new track to giving a facelift to the stands, players’ lounge, dressing room and Press box, OCA had tried to give everything an international touch.

Even the hospitality shown by the OCA during these five days, looking at every comfort of the players has come for a lot of praise from the players, officials and TV commentators.



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