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5th ODI: Rain affects pitch preparation

With the series already decided, pre-monsoon rains have cast doubts on the Guwahati ODI.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 13:35 IST

With the series already decided, pre-monsoon rains have further dampened the interests of eager cricket lovers here ahead of the fifth one-dayer between India and England on April 9.

Cricket administrators and sports lovers are keeping their fingers crossed as intermittent showers, unlikely in this time of the year, have cast doubts on the staging of the match at the Nehru stadium in Guwahati.

The city was lashed by heavy rains on Friday which flooded the outfield in the stadium. The met office's forecast of more rains has come as another bad news for cricket fans.

"If there is no further rain, the match will be definitely on but the outfield will be slow," curator Sunil Baruah predicted.

The prevailing weather has come as a headache for the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) as international level matches are rarely allotted to such venues.

However, the ACA does not lose financially in case the match is washed out, as the expenses would be met through insurance claims.

But officials feel that the match should have been allotted in a better time of the year. 

An ACA official, however, pointed out that giving up this date for another match in a rainless period would mean waiting till 2007 when the Zimbabweans are scheduled to visit the country. 

But the authorities are leaving no stone unturned to hold the match.

"This is a part of our effort because if it rains no one can stop it. But we are trying our best to put up the best condition for play on Sunday," Apurba Das, a groundsman, said.

While the pitch is well-covered, the super sopper is there and every effort is being made to dry the outfield.

But the disadvantage with the Nehru Stadium, which is not an exclusive cricket venue, is that the drainage system is not up to the mark when compared to the other cricketing venues in the country, Das said.

Both the teams are expected to reach Guwahati by Saturday afternoon and have practice later in the evening.