Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Session at Railway Stadium, Bhubaneswar

A view of the pavilion of the East Coast Railway Stadium, Bhubaneswar.

Like uncountable other Indian guys of my generation, I've grown up playing and watching a lot of cricket. All my childhood I missed watching a first-class cricket match live in a stadium. My hometown Bhubaneswar didn't have a proper cricket stadium. International matches at Barabati stadium in the neighboring town of Cuttack were few and far between.

After having shifted to Bangalore, I've witnessed the stadium experience quite a few times in all three formats of the game at the revered Chinnaswamy stadium. Yet that desire of watching a big match in my home town remained unfulfilled. This December, when I came home on vacation, the Ranji Trophy Elite match between Orissa and Karnataka was to be played at the newly built East Coast Railway stadium at Bhubaneswar. I didn't let the chance go and dropped by for the post-tea session on day three of the four-day match. 

The status of the match at that point was as follows: Tea, Day-3
Karnataka - 1st innings: 278 all out (CM Gautam 63)
Orissa - 1st innings: 255 all out (BB Samantray 65, G Poddar 53, S Binny 5/51)
Karnataka - 2nd innings: 119/5

Though Orissa had failed to get the crucial first innings lead, they had the visitors in a spot of bother in the second essay. The bowling was disciplined if not incisive. But, Amit Verma and CM Gautam were defending stoutly and scoring the odd boundary. Basant Mohanty's peach of a delivery that sent CM Gautam's stump on a cartwheel was a view to behold and the take-home moment for me. All of fifty runs and a solitary wicket came in the session. Yet it was a fascinating tussle between bat and ball, the kind of old-school grinding cricket that the purist in me could appreciate. Here's the story in pictures.

CM Gautham showcases his compact defence. 

Team Orissa celebrates as Basant Mohanty sent back CM Gautham with a peach.

Paresh Patel bowls to Amit Verma during a stingy spell of 6-4-5-0. 
The Mancheswar electric substation can be seen in the backdrop.

That's what I call the poor man's super sopper.

 Amit Verma threads one through the covers.

Amit Verma and SN Raju played through fading light 
without further alarms for the visitors. 

As the photos testify, the ground was a pretty sight - lovely green outfield with tall fences all around. But there are no galleries, only bushes and shrubs. Just about a hundred curious onlookers had gathered. A few years down the line I hope to see big galleries teeming with spectators witnessing an international match at the venue.


  1. .............A fan's delightful pleasure. And how much do I bet to know how many of the Karnataka players who have played against?

  2. Thanks Sidhanta. Played against four from the current squad: Amit Verma, Bharat Chipli, SL Akshay and Manish Pandey :)