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February 2, 2010
The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has decided not to allow spectators inside the Rajiv International Cricket Stadium for the Duleep Trophy final between South Zone and West Zone. It is understood that the HCA was fearing crowd trouble due to the political situation in Andhra Pradesh.
There was a security lapse on January 21 during a Twenty20 match at the venue, when a crowd walked up to the pitch, uprooted the stumps and staged a sit-in halfway to the pavilion before they were cleared by policemen. The match had to be cancelled eventually.
"The gates have been closed due to security reasons, we wanted the match to go on uninterrupted," Shivlal Yadav, the HCA vice president, told Cricinfo. "There aren't many spectators who come to domestic matches anyway, if you observe last year's Ranji final, barely 500 spectators turned up. We did not want to take chances pertaining to the conduct of the match. The BCCI does not give us any instructions with regards to such matters. It is up to the hosting board."
Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik, the respective captains of West and South zones, were understandably disappointed at having to play behind closed doors.
"It's a game between 22 players but it still would be good to see people coming to watch the game," Jaffer said.
"We've got used to playing in front of empty stands right through our Ranji Trophy days," Karthik said. "Only those of us who have played international cricket are used to crowds, so this is not a new scenario. But we definitely would've loved some crowd around."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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