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India-Pak tie abandoned due to rain

cricket Updated: Jul 03, 2007 23:19 IST

Hindustan Times
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On Tuesday afternoon, under dark, dismal clouds, a hopeful bunch of volunteers played their blow-driers on the turf, trying to dry the area near the square at the Clydesdale Cricket Club ground.

Five minutes later, the sun came out and so did the rain — a steady, five-minute torrent ended the charade, the volunteers hurried to safety.

It was clear right in the morning — in fact, even last evening — that the match between India and Pakistan would likely be a non-starter, and that's how it panned out.

Prince Charles had hoped that the game would mark the 60th anniversary of the subcontinent's independence — instead, it was the game itself that was marked, marked by rain that came in short, devastating spells.

The Prince of Wales had been indeed very hopeful — the proceeds from the match were to go to his charity foundation. In the end, gate money had to be refunded, the charity funds boosted instead by the insurance money.

Even as the volunteers made their ineffectual effort against the mighty elements, the cricketers knew that the game was up, that on the day, nature had willed that the first one-dayer between the two teams in over a year was not to be. They had left the ground three hours before it was announced (at 2.30 pm) that the match --- for the Future Friendship Cup --- would not be played.

The Clydesdale Cricket Club has been around for 159 years and this was billed as the biggest match that had come to their lush green ground, ringed by low, uncovered stands.

Those stands had been occupied by over 4,000 fans, almost without exception of Indian or Pakistani descent. On the right of the press tent were the Pakistanis, cheerful, noisy and boisterous under a pole that, happily, flew both the nations’ flags.

On the left were the Indians, equally noisy and boisterous. Security people, grim-faced and stern, faced them, seemingly having no interest in the activities in the square. They had other things on their mind — there were reports of two blasts in the city earlier in the morning.

The Indian players had been hopeful, perhaps too hopeful in the morning. They landed early in the ground and were forced to watch the fascinating panorama of falling raindrops — something they had done in Ireland earlier.

After reaching Glasgow around noon on Monday, the Indians had gone to the ground in the evening and found their boots sinking deep into the wet grass.

The organisers were hopeful, too —Scottish weather is also known for its caprices, and they seemed desperate to get some overs at least. They kept the fans in the seats by sending out a red herring in the shape of blow-driers, by blaring out very loud Punjabi music.

A kilt-clad bunch of bagpipers made their appearance and made some notable notes, but all that was drowned by the music from Punjab.

Considering the energy, time and lungpower they had invested into Tuesday's venture, the crowd took the cancellation in good humour. Announcements were made in Punjabi, Urdu and English, in that order.

Clearly, officially too, it was the Asians' day out at the Clydesdale CC. "Mausama de agge kisda zor hei," lamented the announcer — "who can fight the elements!" He said that the players did not wish to take a chance of getting injured by slipping in the wet ground.

Captains Rahul Dravid and Shoaib Malik expressed regret at the washout.

“It is a real shame that the match could not be played,” Dravid said. “We've joined here for a great cause.”

The Indian and Pakistan cricket boards have agreed to play the match at an unspecified date. Hope remains alive.