OCA leaving no stone unturned

 With the unruly happenings of 2015 and the subsequent embarrassment still fresh in their minds, the Odisha Cricket Association is leaving no stone unturned for the smooth conduct of the second one-day international between India and England.

The last international game at the Barabati Stadium two years ago left a bitter taste in everybody's mouth. Not only were India bundled out for 92 while batting first in the T20I affair, the match was interrupted twice due to crowd trouble after disappointed fans started hurling bottles onto the ground.

Play was held up for more than 50 minutes during South Africa's chase and images of Indian players converged at the centre made for sorry viewing. The negligence on the part of OCA to allow the fans to carry bottles came in for heavy criticism, something which they are wary about for Thursday’s fixture.

Despite losing some of their long-serving office bearers following the Supreme Court verdict based on Lodha Panel recommendations, the beleaguered OCA have stepped up the measures for the game on Thursday. Firstly, no fan will be allowed to carry bottles inside the stadium and huge nets have been raised around stands identified as ‘trouble-prone’.

Security personnel — private and police — have been roped in large numbers to control the flow of crowd while CCTV cameras have been installed at various places to identify potential trouble-makers.

Ashirbad Behera, the secretary of the OCA who was forced to relinquish his post, was overseeing the preparations and engaging in plenty of discussions despite holding no office post now. “Most of OCA committee members had to step down following the Lodha recommendations. The people in charge now have no experience of organising an international game. So I’m here guiding and helping them out.”

Meanwhile, due to unavailability of hotel rooms, both the Indian and England teams would be checking into Bhubaneswar only Wednesday afternoon. Both the teams held their practice session on Tuesday at the MCA Stadium in Pune itself. The England team will practice on Wednesday evening at the Barabati Stadium while the Indian team’s schedule isn’t out yet.

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