On Tuesday morning, Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Ashirwad Behera rang up BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and tried to explain the entire episode that has put Barabati in cricket’s hall of shame. Speaking to The Indian Express, Behera sounded confident that his association will escape the cricket board’s sanction.
“I spoke to Anurag and I think they will be considerate, for this was just a one-off incident. Something like this has never happened before in Cuttack and I can assure you we will be a lot more vigilant in the future,” Behera said. He, however, admitted he made a mistake by allowing the fans to carry water bottles inside the ground.
“I allowed them because of the heat. But I must admit I made a mistake. Never ever will the spectators be allowed to take water bottles inside the stadium. Also, we will raise the netting to the top tier,” he said.
The OCA hasn’t received any official communication from the BCCI yet regarding Monday night’s ugly incident when bottles were thrown at the ground by a section of the crowd that almost forced an abandonment of the India versus South Africa second T20 international. A section of the fans started it after India’s innings folded up for 92. Others joined during the visitors’ chase. Play was stopped twice, for 19 and 27 minutes, respectively, and during the second stoppage umpires took the players off the field. The match eventually resumed after vacating the enclosures that had been creating trouble.
“Match referee Chris Broad will send his report to the ICC and the world body in turn might write to the BCCI on the issue. The BCCI will then seek an explanation from the OCA. We will tell them what we’ve to offer in our defence. South Africa captain (Faf du Plessis) said it was just a bad day in office and we also believe that,” Behera said.
He, however, tore into the commentators who wanted a ban on matches being hosted at Barabati. “Who are they? They don’t take decisions. It’s the BCCI that takes decisions. Some commentators clearly overstepped their brief. Crowd trouble had happened many times at Eden Gardens as well — during the 1996 World Cup semi-final and then at the Asian Test Championship a few years later. Did the BCCI ban Eden Gardens?” Behera asked.