Barabati ready for battle royal

Cuttack: The historic Barabati stadium is fully geared up to host the first One Day International between India and the visiting West Indian side led by Darren Sammi to be played on Tuesday. The day and night encounter between India and West Indies is the first match of the Five-ODI series. India after its Test series win would try to win the ODI series while the visitors after their scinatillating performance in the third test at Mumbai would try to improve their performance in the limited version of the game.

The thirty thousand crowd inside the stadium would naturally expect that the batsmen rain fours and sixes in the fifty over format. Knowing that cricket is a game of uncertainty, anything is possibele and no team would like to take any chances and have the time to relax on the field.

Amid heavy security the Indian team today arrived from Bhubaneswar for net practice and had a tough look at the track. Virender Sehwag and Goutam Gambhir were present in the nets. The fate of the Indian side, led by Virender Sehwag since Mahi has been rested for the entire series, depends too much upon the two explosive Delhi duo. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvarj Singh too are out of action. But luckily that has not dampened the spirit of the viewers since all the tickets have been sold out. The Indian batsmen and the bowlers had a tough session at the nets.

Then in the second half, the West Indians took to the nets. Sammi`s boys too had a tough session in the nets and were engaged in drawing strategies to humble Sehwag`s side to begin the first encounter of the series on a winning note. Barabati pitch of course has a notorious fame for producing low-scoring matches. Only once has the pitch helped produce a 300-plus runs match. But the chief curator, Pankaj Pattanaik hopes that the track this time would be batsmen friendly and the viewers would have complete entertainment. The toss would in his words play the most crucial role. The match has generated much public enthusiasm as any international match is being played here after two long years.

The morale of Sehwag eleven runs high no doubt after the Test series win. Despite Sachin, Dhoni and Yuvvy not in the side, Team India batsmen like Sehwag, Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ravinder Jadeja are in great touch. The chances of the Indians look bright if one takes into consideration their recent records. Recently,they defeated England by five nil. This is the 13th match for the Indian side at the Barabati. And the Men in Blue have won in nine instances while they have been humbled in four outings. In the last ODI here India had registered win and the captain was Sehwag and not Dhoni. Sehwag and his boys would love to repeat that feat this time too.