Brijesh Patel rules out shifting Karnataka's Mysore games
Karnataka players will have to live with "appalling" crowd behaviour in Mysore when they take on Odisha in their Group A Ranji Trophy match starting Saturday. Robin Uthappa had said after the team's last home game against Haryana that "a lot of us felt" the game against Odisha should be moved out, but Brijesh Patel, the secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), stated that the venue for the match starting on November 7 will not be changed.
Close to 1500 spectators turned up on the opening day of Karnataka's clash against Haryana on October 22, with several players heckled and booed during the course of the day in which Virender Sehwag made a swashbuckling century.
"Murmurs were going around in the media, but no official request was made by the team management to change the venue," Patel told ESPNcricinfo. "These incidents will happen from time to time. Fans can get excited sometimes when they see a great player in action. Legends like Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble have always found support when they have played at other venues. They [Karnataka] have to just get on with it. We need to just focus on the cricket."
Uthappa, who was at the centre of it all while fielding in the deep in the first innings, expressed displeasure at the abuse hurled at him and the team. HS Sharath and David Mathias, the pacers, also faced taunts from the crowd occasionally.
"A lot of us feel like we're playing an away game when we come here," Uthappa had said. "Most of the boys want the next game, which is supposed to be in Mysore, to be shifted elsewhere because you don't want the atmosphere to be like this when you are playing in a home game. You want it to be an advantage, not a disadvantage.
"It is disheartening but you perceive it differently and you take it in your stride. It doesn't really bother us because we are professionals. But if you look at it from an emotional perspective or a support perspective, it's just appalling, to be very frank."
The game against Odisha will be Karnataka's last in Mysore this season, after which they are slated to play their final home game against Delhi in Hubli from November 23.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo