Most Indian Players Skip Practice, Fans Disappointed
India will face England in the second One-Day International at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Thursday.
Though a sizeable crowd made it to the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Wednesday to watch their favourite stars warm-up like skipper Virat Kohli, they were left disappointed as most Indian cricketers chose to skip the optional practice session. India will take on England in the second One-Day International (ODI) on Thursday after having taken a 1-0 lead in Pune on Sunday.
Having checked in with less than 24 hours to go for the match, only three members of the team -- MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul -- were seen in the evening practice session.
The trio batted at the nets after the usual warm-up and concluded their two-hour session with the routine pitch inspection.
The teams, who always stay in the Odisha capital city of Bhubaneswar about 25 kilometres away, had to extend their stay in Pune by three more days after the first ODI on January 15 because the team hotel was booked for a wedding.
Both teams landed in the Odisha capital around 2.15 pm.
"It was something that had been finalised by the BCCI. The teams do not have any problem in arriving on the eve of the match," Odisha Cricket Association CEO Bidyut Kumar Nayak told PTI.
The English team members practice however were delayed for about an hour after their luggage arrived late at the airport, according to a team official.
The visitors, facing a must-win situation to keep themselves afloat in the three-match series, had a full practice session.
Water bottle, pouches prohibited
Fruits, water pouches and water bottles are strictly prohibited inside the Barabati Stadium for the match.
A three-tier security cordon comprising private security guards and police will thoroughly check the spectators before they enter the stadium to ensure that the prohibited articles including transistors, mirrors, bugles, crackers and helmets do not get inside the stadium.
The cricket organisers and the state administration are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the match here tomorrow goes off peacefully without any untoward incident. The crowd here got a lot of flak and the venue was about to be blacklisted when a T20 match between India and South Africa was marred by crowd trouble in November 2015 when a section of the crowd threw water bottles onto the field.
The organisers have put up huge nets in front of the galleries and the playing area has been reduced to ensure that if anything is thrown into the field, it does not hit the players.
"If anyone is found throwing any missiles in and on the ground, (he) shall be handed over to the police to be dealt with severely as per law," said the OCA Chief Executive Officer Bidyut Naik, adding that sufficient drinking water will be provided to the spectators in galleries.
Similarly, security has been enhanced this time in and around the stadium.
"At least 63 platoons of police force and over 300 police officers will be deployed for crowd control, traffic management and security for the players and officials," said Cuttack DCP Sanjiv Arora, adding that an escort party will be accompanying vehicles carrying players from their hotel to the venue and back.
At least four fire brigade units are deployed at the stadium at different locations and several fire extinguishers are installed in almost all the galleries, stands, pavilions, dressing rooms and temporary special enclosures across the stadium, OCA sources said.
They said over 100 CCTV cameras have been installed throughout the stadium to monitor the crowd movement and behaviour.
(With PTI inputs)