| Pakistan players in action during their match against Odisha in Cuttack on Tuesday. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, Jan. 29: Biryani, gulab jamun and kheer sagar. This is part of the fare being offered to the Pakistan women’s cricket team, which is here to take part in the Group B league matches of the upcoming ICC World Cup.
Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) officials said a special menu had been designed for Pakistan players. “A variety of Indian dishes are being served. Mutton and chicken biryani are their first preference. They are enjoying the delicacies,” said OCA secretary Ashirbad Behera, adding that the local Mahavir Catering Services was looking after the food.
However, a special menu of Odia cuisine has also been given to the Pakistan team physio for approval, said Srikant Sahu of Mahavir Catering services. He said continental food including pasta was also being served. “The players have taken a liking to Odia sweet dishes such as kheer sagar, gulab jamun and rasgullas. Roti, naan and tandoor items have also been included in the menu,” he said.
A variety of health drinks, including juices, were also being offered to them. The officials said the caterer was trying to rustle up Pakistani dishes that were drier and less spicy so that it would suit the visitors’ lifestyle and food habits.
The Pakistan team today defeated Odisha in the first of its two warm-up matches against the local team at Barabati Stadium.
Pakistan skipper Sana Mir appeared content with her team’s performance and said the players were comfortable with the arrangements as far as hospitability and security were concerned. The 15-member team, which reached here on Sunday, is staying at the new club within the Barabati complex.
“We are here to play cricket. Staying in a five-star or a three-star hotel or any other place does not matter. We are happy with the facilities that the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) has provided,” said Mir, rebuffing allegations raised by a few Pakistan media houses about inadequate hospitality in Odisha.
She also congratulated the Odisha side for “performing well”. “It was a good game and we would have liked to add another 30 runs to our scorecard. Our players dropped a few catches. So we need to improve in fielding as well as in batting and bowling,” Mir said.
Though Odisha XI could manage to put up only 145 runs on board, they had something to cheer about as they got an opportunity to play against the international team. “It was good learning experience for all of us,” said captain Madhusmita Behera, who was the top scorer for Odisha with 53 runs.