Chepauk ready to handle rains

New drainage system is world class

With the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association opting to upgrade infrastructure ahead of the World Cup, half the stadium is still under construction. The completed portions, however, are stunningly world-class. What is even more surprising is the excellent state of the ground, which has taken a relentless beating from the rains for the last four days.

What was also encouraging was that the rains stayed away and the sun shone brightly on Wednesday, enhancing the chances of Friday’s day-night clash between India and New Zealand. “Even if it pours over the next one-and-a-half days, the ground can be made ready in an hour,” proclaimed PR Viswanathan, the curator here. “The rain, if it comes down again, just has to stop.”

While the outfield looked remarkably dry, barring a few wet patches on the edges, the pitch, the curator said, wasn’t match-fit yet. “The ground is fit for play right now. But the pitch will be ready once we roll it tomorrow,” he pointed out.

Despite heavy rains, the ground staff had covered only the main square, the bowlers’ run-ups and the practice wickets for the better part of 10 days, when it rained on and off. The rest of the ground soaked in the water and let it out through the state-of-the-art drainage system. “We have about 16,000 feet of underground pipes,” noted Viswanathan. “These perforated PVC pipes are laid all around the square and connected to eight main channels. All the pipes slope outwards so that the water runs out to the drain across the boundary line. From there, four big outlets route the water to the canal outside.”

The TNCA chose to upgrade the facilities after two Tests and as many one-dayers were rained off at various stages between 2003 and 2005. “That’s when we decided to have a proper drainage system. Even the ICC team which visited the stadium on Tuesday to inspect the progress made was surprised to see the condition of the ground despite heavy rains,” he stated.

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