| Members of the Australian women’s cricket team at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on the eve of their World Cup opener against Pakistan on Thursday. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, Jan. 31: Protests or not, the inaugural match of Group B of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup between Pakistan and Australia at Barabati Stadium tomorrow is likely to draw huge crowds.
To ensure security, the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) today clamped restriction on the use of cell phones inside the stadiums hosting the World Cup matches.
“Following instructions of Odisha police, we request spectators not to carry cell phones to the Barabati Stadium and Driems College ground,” said OCA secretary Ashirbad Behera.
Earlier, the association had issued guidelines for spectators in which items such as water bottles, helmets, transistors and sharp objects including mirrors were banned.
Senior officers of the Odisha police said a thick blanket of security would be in place during all the matches of the cricket World Cup at Barabati Stadium and Driems ground. Over 47 platoons of police will be deployed at both venues while special security measures have been drawn up for the Pakistan team, which will be playing all its matches at Barabati Stadium.
Many people have expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements made by the cops to maintain law and order keeping in view protests by various outfits against the Pakistan players.
“Despite the ongoing controversy and protests against the Pakistan team, we will certainly go to the stadium to watch the match because we feel that cricket and other sports should be kept away from politics,” said Subrat Sahoo, a student.
Earlier, the captains of both teams expressed satisfaction over the pitch at Barabati Stadium that promises plenty of runs. However, moisture will help the pacers initially during the first half of the match.
The players of both the Pakistan and Australia teams went through an intense practice session at Barabati Stadium amidst tight security arrangements today. The other two teams of Group-B, New Zealand and South Africa, practised on the Driems ground in Tangi.
“The morale of the team is high after successive wins in the warm-up matches in Mumbai. Today, we had a good practice session and we are looking forward to the match against Pakistan,” said Australia team captain Jodie Fields.
Over 200 activists of the BJP were taken into preventive custody at Buxi Bazaar while they were on their way to stage a protest in front of Barabati Stadium today.
The joy of sports lovers knew no bounds across the state as 20-year-old Odisha girl Roshanara Parvin of Balangir created history for the state today by representing India in the World Cup match against West Indies in Mumbai.