Mysuru, Oct 26: The feeling of playing at home is always special for any team. But ask a Karnataka player and you get a different answer. The Ranji Trophy holders are disappointed with the attitude of some fans in Mysuru and want their game to be shifted out of the royal city.
Open Robin Uthappa yesterday (October 25) revealed how he and his team-mates were being "called names" and not supported on many occasions during their Ranji Trophy matches at the Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Stadium (Gangothri Glades).
Karnataka managed to escape with a draw against Haryana in their Group A game on Sunday (October 25). With Haryana being led by Virender Sehwag, the local crowd supported the former Indian opener.
There were chants from the fans asking home players to drop Sehwag's catches. The number three batsman did not disappoint as he scored a magnificent century on the opening day. And the hosts players did drop catches!
Uthappa is fine with the crowd supporting a "legend" like Sehwag. But what has upset him is the attitude against the home team in other matches too apart from the Haryana game.
"It is disappointing. You are playing on your home ground and you are being called names. It is natural that we expect the crowd to back us completely when playing at home," Uthappa told reporters after the match yesterday.
"This is not the first time. I have been seeing this for 7 to 8 years. It is tough to field at the boundary. Fans abuse me even while batting.
"We expected them to back him (Sehwag) as he is a legend. But it is one thing to support a player and quite another to turn against your own team. But this is not something new. On the professional front, we have learnt to take it in our stride. But emotionally, we have been let down," the right-hander added.
"A right kind of energy and encouragement is needed from the supporters and if you look at our show in Mysuru, we have struggled to produce an outright win here. Hubballi is a lot better and we have requested our team management for a change in venue for our next match which is schedule in Mysuru," he said.
S Balachandar, Convenor, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), Mysuru Zone, described Uthappa's comments as "unfortunate".
"Robin's comments are unfortunate. I was surprised to read them in the media this morning. There could have been few people in the crowd who booed him but overall whenever Karnataka plays in Mysuru fans have always supported. The best example is Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai in 2010," Balachandar told OneIndia on Monday (October 26).
He added that they had not received any official communication from KSCA about shifting the next home match from Mysuru.
"Due to some fans in the crowd whole of Mysuru should not get a bad name. Karnataka team will always be welcomed warmly by the fans here and they respect the home players," Balachandar added.
Karnataka are scheduled to play Odisha in Mysuru from November 7 to 10. The KSCA is yet to take a decision on the team's request.