Fans on Tuesday were back to patronising international cricket here after people in other parts of country ignored the recent five-match One-Day International series against England and the three Tests against the West Indies.The 45,000-capacity Barabati Stadium was bursting at seams as the city hosted the first of five ODIs – and Cuttack’s first international match in two years. Thousands of people were still hanging around the venue in the hope that they would get tickets somehow while those who could afford them bought them in black, though officially all tickets were sold out on Saturday.Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) president Ranjib Biswal said that he was always expecting a full house for the day-night encounter. “We never had any doubt about a packed stadium for this match,” Biswal told Mail Today.A former Orissa Ranji Trophy captain, Biswal pointed out that people in metros have had enough of cricket. “You have so much of cricket being played all the year round, including the Indian Premier League, and that’s the reason people didn’t go to watch the recent India matches,” he said. “But if you organise matches in smaller cities, people will surely come to watch cricket.”And a sample was witnessed here on Tuesday as people flocked this multi-purpose ground. Biswal stressed that the chances of getting fans into the stadium are always greater in second- rung cities than in metros, and this match underlined this fact.Biswal disclosed that the OCA would soon increase the capacity of the Barabati Stadium. “We are going to pull down the double storey club house and one more stand to add 10,000 more seats to increase the capacity to 55,000,” he said.advertisementAlthough the OCA doesn’t own the stadium, Biswal said a longterm pact between the OCA and the Orissa Olympic Association to use the stadium for international cricket matches has encouraged them to invest in the venue.”According to the pact, OCA can organise 35 international matches here. This is only the second match under the agreement,” he said.Biswal would be further encouraged by a recent comment from Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative office of the BCCI, that the Board was thinking of allotting Test matches to smaller venues to encourage people to throng stadiums.While the Barabati Stadium was filled to the brim, tickets were available in black market until the start of the match. Touts were seen talking to prospective buyers just outside the stadium.One of the touts said that tickets for all galleries were available. “You can get the Rs 4,000 denomination ticket for Rs 8,000 and the Rs 8,000 ticket for Rs 12,000,” he said nonchalantly.
Fans back in large numbers to watch Team India in action