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Uncomfortably numb

cricket Updated: May 19, 2009 02:15 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan
Hindustan Times
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This match certainly would have left players chilled to the bone! They may have played in the searing heat of India and the blustery conditions of New Zealand, but nothing would have prepared them for the freezer-like conditions in Bloemfontein on Sunday night.

Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils not only had to face each other on the field but also the terribly cold conditions that left the players numb and shivering. It became worse in the second half of the match when the temperature dipped to five degrees Centigrade.

Rajasthan Royals’ director of coaching, Darren Berry, said: “The conditions affect both the teams and Daredevils got the better of us in cold conditions. Last year, we played in temperatures around 45 degrees in India.”

Sunday’s Man of the Match AB de Villiers said he had played in similar conditions in Ireland. “This is right up there. It is not very pleasant to be playing in these conditions,” he said.

Another senior player said: “I don’t like playing in the cold. You cannot grip the bat and it takes three-four overs to get used to the cold before you can grip it and play your shots.

“Why should they host matches in such conditions? Couldn’t the IPL organisers have scheduled the matches in Durban or some other place?” said another player.

The locals in Bloemfontein said it would have been better had the matches been played here at the start of the tournament. Herman Bakkes, the Financial Manager of the Free State Cricket Union, said: “We would have liked it early in the tournament only for the weather. But the schedule has been drawn that way. It gets very cold here…even colder than Johannesburg.”

There was not a soul at the ground who was not wearing less than a couple of layers of warm clothing. The cosiest place in the stadium was, perhaps, the press box. But those working in the open — the photographers and the camera crew — bore the brunt of the biting cold. “Normally, I click nine frames per second. But on Sunday, I couldn’t click more than three as my hands were shaking,” said a photographer. “My camera also started malfunctioning because of the weather. Normally, it does not work in extreme hot conditions but today I learnt that it does not function in extreme cold conditions too.”

The players had a tough time keeping themselves warm and many of them were provided warm water bottles to beat the weather.