The facelift given to the Barabati Stadium, one of the oldest in this region, is awe-inspiring. New concrete stands, air-conditioned corporate boxes, giant LED screens and a bit of vaastu as well.
Well, before the stadium became the Deccan Chargers' second home ground in this IPL, a priest was summoned to check if the venue could be auspicious for the team. The Chargers need some of it after losing all their four matches in the current edition.
It included a visit to the temple in nearby Puri, requisition of Ganesha idols and pictures and believe it or not, placing bricks at strategic places of the stadium!
Believing in luck and fate is common practice here. The Uppal ground in Hyderabad, where the Chargers will play their first match on May 8, has witnessed some of it when India couldn't get a win there.
The only Test played in 2010, against New Zealand, ended in a draw. And of the four ODIs played at Uppal, India lost three till they finally won against England by a huge margin in the first match of the ODI series last year. But many couldn't help wonder if it was because of the Panchmukhi Ganesha idol, which was placed at the entrance just before the series.
Two months ago, a priest, believed to be close to the Chargers' owners, visited the stadium. "He checked out the dressing room and various parts of the stadium," said an Odisha Cricket Association official. "He recommended the installation of idols or pictures of Lord Ganesha in the players' dressing room for luck. He even suggested that we put one in the office," he said.
Before going to the Jagannath Temple in Puri to offer prayers for the team, the priest came up with his most important advice --- placing bricks at strategic places of the stadium. "The priest felt if we placed 16 bricks in the home dressing room and a few behind the boundary ropes at the other end, it could bring luck," said the official.
It's not known whether the advice would be adhered to but that's quite a way of invoking divine intervention.