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Hot Weather tournaments take their toll

The soaring summer temperatures over the last couple of months have cost the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association at least three umpires, in addition to numerous players who have suffered from dehydration among other problems.

cricket Updated: Jul 06, 2009 21:17 IST
Deepika Sharma

The soaring summer temperatures over the last couple of months have cost the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association at least three umpires, in addition to numerous players who have suffered from dehydration among other problems.

In the Hot Weather tournament alone, three officiating umpires fell severely ill — in Krishnan Sharma’s case, frequent dizzy spells meant that he had to leave the field and be replaced by a scorer. “I felt fine in the morning but as it got hotter I began to feel really unwell,” said Sharma, who was officiating in the Delhi Blues versus Rajnigandha Club game. “I threw up and felt extremely dizzy. I had to leave and the scorer (also the third umpire) officiated.”

Delhi state level umpires Avnish Tyagi and Manoj Choudhary found themselves in similar situations.

With temperatures rising every summer, the wisdom of conducting tournaments at this time is being questioned. A total of 540 league matches and 52 Super League matches are squeezed between June and October. That apart, 43 Hot Weather matches are played from June to July.

And if there is no choice but to have these matches then, the DDCA should take the best possible measures to ensure that players and officials do not fall ill. At this point, there is no provision for doctors or medical aid at venues and each team is only given one box of Glucon D for every game.

Cold water is provided in big plastic filters, but often, these are not replenished and the water, obviously, heats up soon. A few venues provide lemonade, but it is still not enough.

Players are unhappy about both the scheduling and the lack of facilities. “They (the DDCA) feel a 500ml pack of Glucon D is enough for the entire team. We don’t get any energy drinks. Thankfully, we have cold water for the most,” a player told HT, adding, “But sometimes, we don’t even get lunch.”

Air India player Robin Bisht said, “These tournaments are not so important. They should be held earlier. We are supposed to play in any condition but sometimes, it is harsh on us.”

“Why can’t Hot Weather and Super League matches end by April?” asked another. “Many Ranji players don’t play them.” In any case, the Ranji Trophy games end by January. There are zonal one-dayers but other than that, most players do not make the Duleep and Deodhar teams.

The DDCA maintains they have no option. “We have no choice but to hold the tournament at this time. There are so many matches to be played. In any case, I’m sure players are used to playing in such conditions,” said tournament convenor, Vijay Bahadur Mishra.

He said the DDCA allocated Rs. 1000 as refreshment budget per game. “We also provide players with two packs of Glucon D, mineral water and one and a half kilos of lemons.” But that doesn’t really cover much when you factor in the playing XIs, substitutes, and match officials.

And what of medical aid? Bahadur says the DDCA has “informed every hospital in every zone”. What that actually translates to, no one is quite sure. Not even the teams.