Vikash Sharma

With the stage all set for the World Cup 2023, the fans in Odisha had expected to watch their favourite stars in action at Barabati stadium in Cuttack. However, the stadium doesn’t feature in the World Cup venue list.

Several questions are now being raised as to why Barabati failed to get a match to host despite having all the requisite infrastructure.

“We were hoping for at least a single match of the World Cup at Barabati. But it did not happen,” said a fan.

Former Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Joint Secretary, Sanjib Dutta said, “BCCI had earlier instructed for own stadium with requisite bucket seats in the gallery. Once a new stadium is constructed, it will have all the requisite infrastructure.”

It is being said that there are several possible reasons for which BCCI might be upset.

Reason 1: The Barabati stadium ground belongs to the Olympic Association and the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) does not have its own ground.

Reason 2: The 99-year lease agreement between the Odisha Government and the Olympic Association has expired.

Reason 3: According to experts, a lot of events including cricket are held at Barabati stadium throughout the year. Hence, Barabati stadium could not have been picked as a venue by BCCI.

But why did Barabati stadium fail to get a single World Cup match to host when cities like Lucknow and Pune were allotted matches...Even practice matches, held at Guwahati, were not played at Barabati?

Former cricketer, Pawan Agarwal said, “Why will BCCI spend such money and take risks at the ground where football, athletics and other games are being held? This could be one of the reasons for which BCCI is not allotting matches here.”

OCA Secretary, Sanjay Behera said, “The association had requested BCCI but metro cities were given prominence. However, Barabati not getting a match has nothing to do with our own stadium matter. Meanwhile, there are plans for an international level stadium of our own. We will take up the matter with the Odisha government.”