Cuttack ODI organisers brace up for disturbance-free contest

Organisers at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, ahead of the second One-Day International between India and England, are trying their best to avoid a repeat of the bottle-throwing incident of 2015 that had paused the Twenty20 between India and South Africa.

A view of the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack ahead of the second ODI.   -  K. R. Deepak

Even as the Barabati Stadium here is all set to host the second One-Day International between India and England, there is a sense of urgency among the organisers. They are trying their best not to let the ugly incident of bottle throwing during the India-South Africa T20 international in 2015 happen again on Thursday.

The organisers have decided that this time no spectator will be allowed to take water bottles, water pouches and other items which could be used to hurl into the ground. The spectators would be served drinking water at their seats, which have been numbered for the first time.

Besides, the height of the netting fence has been raised further to discourage unruly fans from throwing any object into the ground. Only one stand has been left without any nets as it would have obstructed a key television camera placed on the stands. “There is no threat from that stand as the distance from the stand and the playing area is quite big,” said Prabir Biswal, one of the security supervisors.

To enhance monitoring, the number of CCTV cameras have been almost doubled. “Last time, 67 cameras were there whereas 120 have been placed for this match. A camera which can give a 360-degree view has also been installed at a strategic position.”

Tight security

Around 1500 security officials will be guarding the Barabati Stadium, where the police officials conducted mock drills of piloting the team buses to and from the venue.

The playing arena has been taken care of well by the groundstaff. According to curator Pankaj Patnaik, because of the hard soil the pitch should offer good bounce for the bowlers. “But the batsmen can score a lot of runs after getting adjusted to the bounce. The Jammu and Kashmir-Haryana Ranji match was played on the same surface and had produced a lot of runs,” said Patnaik.

In order to counter the dew factor, Patnaik said the length of the grass, which was normally left at eight mm length, on the outfield had been reduced to six mm. “This will make the outfield faster. We are trying our best to negate the dew factor. Scent has been sprayed all over the ground and a special spray will be applied so that the dew does not stay on the grass. Ropes will be used during the drinks break to wipe off the dew and super soppers will be used during the innings break.

“Since the weather is good, there should be less hassles as far as conditions are concerned,” said Patnaik.