Rajkot: Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) On Thursday appealed to Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and his supporters to not agitate during the one-day international (ODI) match to be played between India and South Africa on October 18 at a stadium on the city outskirts.
The appeal was made today by honorary secretary of SCA Niranjan Shah during a press conference at the stadium located near Khandheri village.
"This is a big event not only for SCA but for all cricket loving people of Saurashtra region. Its a matter of great pride that we are going to host a one day international match here," Shah said.
"The match would be telecast across the world and it should be our priority that it be played in a peaceful manner.
I humbly request Hardik Patel not to agitate during Rajkot ODI," Shah said.
"This is a sports activity and thus this is not a proper platform to agitate for such a demand. I hope Hardik Patel would consider our appeal," Shah said.
The appeal comes after Hardik Patel led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti gave a call to its community members to buy maximum tickets of the one day international and protest there during the match.
Patidars (Patel community) has been agitating in Gujarat since the last couple of months demanding reservation in education and government jobs under OBC quota. Though the state government has announced a package for economically weaker upper class, the Patel community did not stop its agitation.
Niranjan Shah had gone Gandhinagar to meet Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and invited her to attend the match and remain present during the post-match prize distribution ceremony.
The CM consented to attending the match. Hardik Patel, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had reportedly told his community members to attend the match in large numbers to raise demand for reservation.
On the preparation for the upcoming match, Shah said this would be the third match to be played at SCA stadium at Khandheri. Earlier Australia and England were the visiting teams.
"SCA has made all the necessary preparation. We are in touch with police department to take necessary security measures," he said, adding, viewers would not be allowed to take anything inside the sitting area as part of security measures.
Shah said when SCA is focusing on promoting this stadium as a sought after place for cricket matches, any untoward incident would shatter SCA's plans to bring more cricket matches, including tests and IPL matches in future.