The Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) on Tuesday reacted sharply to Sunil Gavaskar’s call for banning international cricket in Cuttack following unruly crowd behaviour during the second Twenty20 between India and South Africa at the city’s Barabati Stadium on Monday, saying the former India captain has no authority to take a decision on the matter.
“Sunil Gavaskar is not the authority to take a decision about venue of international cricket matches. He is just a commentator,” OCA Secretary Asirbad Behera said in Bhubaneswar.
Slamming the crowd behaviour and the police response to it during the match, Gavaskar said Barabati Stadium should be banned as an international venue for two years. Angry spectators hurled missiles, mainly water bottles, into the ground after India were skittled out for 92 against South Africa in the match, disrupting play twice.
Behera was speaking to reporters after a meeting called by state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to discuss the incident at Barabati.
Meanwhile, OCA president and former Team India manager Ranjib Biswal described the unruly crowd behaviour as grossly unfortunate. Only a few unruly spectators were responsible for the incident, and 99 % of people come to the stadium to see and enjoy the match, he said.
Vandalism of these people has deeply hurt the sentiments of cricket lovers of Odisha as well as OCA, Biswal said, adding this was the first such incident in this stadium and appropriate action would be taken.
Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar also condemned the incident, saying the crowd’s behaviour was not good for the game and would hurt its image as a ‘gentleman’s game’.