India vs West Indies ODI: Barabati all set to host series-decider

The iconic Barabati Stadium in Cuttack needed lot of attention after being hit by cyclone Fani last May.

Barabati Stadium last hosted an international match when India played Sri Lanka in a T20 two years ago. The last ODI was staged nearly three years ago.   -  K. R. Deepak

The Barabati Stadium is at its prettiest shape in recent times as it gets ready to host the third and series-deciding one-day international between India and West here on Sunday.

The 61-year-old venue, which bore the brunt of cyclone Fani in May last, demanded a lot of attention after the ODI was allotted to the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA).

It was a tough task for the newly-elected OCA office-bearers, who got about two months to put everything in place.

Major issue

“The major issue was the lights, which were installed about 18 years ago. A lot of them were damaged in the cyclone. More than 100 lights were added or changed by Dev Musco Lighting, Kapil Dev’s company, which had installed them,” OCA president Mohanty told Sportstar on Friday.

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“These lights were not available in the market. They could not replace the old lights with LEDs as they had to keep the load factor (on the towers) in mind. The other challenge was achieving the desired lux.”

Clock tower renovation

The renovation of the iconic clock tower, beside which the two dressing rooms are situated, was another major renovation work. The glass cover of the three clocks, which were broken in the cyclone, was replaced and the whole tower was given a more aesthetic look.

“The primary work was related to renovation and maintenance. Besides, we employed professional agencies to do the interiors and decorate the pathways (leading to the main block),” said Mohanty.

The whole renovation job was done at an expense of ₹6 crore. “For the last three years the OCA did not get any money from the BCCI.

“The routine expenses, like team travelling, catering etc., were transferred directly to the beneficiaries. Now, BCCI gave us about ₹10 crore which helped us complete this much-needed work.”

Barabati last hosted an international match when India played Sri Lanka in a T20 two years ago. The last ODI was staged nearly three years ago.

Spectators excited

The excitement of spectators knew no bounds even though the two teams’ practice sessions, scheduled on Friday, was cancelled.

The OCA has been struggling to meet the huge demand for tickets. “We are selling about 38,000 tickets, but are losing 5,200 on Gallery No. 7 as it has been declared unsafe. Looking at the demand, it’s a significant number,” said Mohanty.

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