Weather has the final say

Weather has the final say

The poor drainage system at the Eden Gardens resulted in the third and final T20I match between India and South Africa being called off owing to a wet outfield despite not a drop of rain falling on the ground for three hours prior to the scheduled start time.

It rained for a short while in the morning but the damage was done by strong spell that lasted for an hour in the afternoon. The ground staff at the Cricket Association of Bengal, despite the brief spell in the morning, failed to anticipate the heavy spell that was forecast for the afternoon and chose to keep only square covered.

And when heavy rain lashed the stadium around 1.00 pm, the ground staff hurried to get the covers on but the intense spell was enough to turn the outfield into a pond. The rain stopped around 4 pm but with the ground having already received a battering during the monsoons and plenty of water lying underneath, they had to hope for a miracle to get a game going. Adding to their woes, there was no sun to aid the natural drying process.

The three umpires — Anil Chaudhary, Vineet Kulkarni and CK Nandan (TV umpire) — conducted an inspection at 7.30 pm and found the conditions not good for play. They conducted another inspection at 8.30 pm and despite no rain since 4 pm, the three supersoppers couldn’t mop up the water from outside of the square.

BCCI’s tweet just after the 7.30 pm inspection was curt. “Despite the lack of rain of late, the umpires aren't happy. Inspection at 20.30 Local.”

The umpires then conducted their next inspection at 9.30 pm, before deciding that the ground was not conducive for play. While the CAB may get off lightly considering the series had been captured by South Africa, one could only imagine the flak they would have received had the series been locked at 1-1 with all to play for in this match.

With the Eden Gardens being one of the important venues in the country, it was quite appalling to see a game called off without a ball being bowled despite no rain three hours from the start of the game. Not choosing to cover the entire ground when a spell had lashed the stadium in the morning and the failure to mop up the water is something only the CAB officials can explain.

The CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey, speaking to the media, blamed the fiasco on curator Probir Mukherjee, even asking him to step down. “There was rain forecast but he chose not to cover the ground as a precaution. With due respect, I feel he's getting old and it's time that he gives the responsibility to someone young.”

India captain MS Dhoni expressed disappointment at not being to play the match where he wanted to ring in a few changes ahead of the ODI series. “We wanted to make a few changes in the side. Wanted to change the batting order. It's sad that we were not able to play. This is one venue where you really want to play. We don't want to come here and then not play a game.”

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