Railways ground likely venue for WC matches

Bhubaneswar: The Railways-owned ground here seems to have come to the rescue as an option for third ground to host the women’s World Cup matches amid security concerns which the state has been witnessing for the past couple of days since Odisha agreed to host the matches involving arch-rival Pakistan.

"I have told Ministry of Railways that the venue should be provided so matches could be hosted there. This problem will be resolved and matches would take place in Odisha," BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla told PTI on Wednesday.

"It needs to be a safe ground," added Shukla, who is also a Union Minister.

Meanwhile, Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Ashirbad Behera said that the ground could be used by the players as a practice field.

“Since the players will stay in Bhubaneswar and play matches in Cuttack, they need a ground for practice sessions. This ground in Bhubaneswar will solve the problem,” Behera said.

Cuttack was selected to host Pakistan's World Cup matches after the Shiv Sena threatened that it would oppose ties involving the neighbouring country in Mumbai.

All the matches in Group B, in which Pakistan is placed along with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, were then shifted to Cuttack's Barabati Stadium and DRIEMS Stadium on the city's outskirts.

However an ICC source revealed that holding matches at DRIEMS ground "was not feasible" and the Railways ground emerged as a likely venue.

"The knockout games involving Pakistan would have to be held in Cuttack only," the source said, adding the Railways ground "has very basic facilities."

(With Agency Inputs)