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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Cricket

After Ranchi, Cuttack ODI at the mercy of rain gods
Priya Ranjan Sahu, Hindustan Times
Bhubaneswar, October 24, 2013
First Published: 15:12 IST(24/10/2013)
Last Updated: 19:17 IST(24/10/2013)

Australia's quest for an one-day cricket series win in India may have incurred the wrath of the rain gods.

After the fourth one-dayer in the ongoing series was washed out in Ranchi in Wednesday night, the fifth may face the same fate in Cuttack on Saturday. Cuttack is around 30 kms from capital Bhubaneswar.

However, the news from the weatherman is not too good as the met department has forecast that it will continue to rain for another 36 hours. 

Most Indian stadiums have the problem of poor drainage in the outfield, unlike venues in countries like England and Australia where the fields are laid with a natural incline.

It has been raining incessantly for the past four days in most parts of Phailin-hit Odisha, leading to flooding in the low-lying areas even in the urban centres.

Australia lead the seven-match series 2-1 and their rampaging batsmen - backed by some aggressive bowling -- have raised the prospect of a series victory for the new-look team.

An official of Barabati Stadium, where the day-and-night match is scheduled to be played, said that the outfield has become waterlogged due to the continuous rains since Monday.

"It has rained heavily but the pitches are intact. We have covered all the three pitches at a width of about 30 feet," curator Pankaj Patnaik said.

Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Asirbad Behera said everything depended on the weather now. "If the rains stop by tomorrow morning, we will be ready for the match," he said.

However, the news from the weatherman is not too good with the met department forecasting rains for another 36 hours.  

However, most Indian stadia suffer from the problem of poor drainage in the outfield, unlike venues in countries like England and Australia where the fields are laid with a natural incline.

Met officials said that the rains have been triggered by a well marked low pressure off north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh in the Bay of Bengal.

The rains came close on the heels of Cyclone Phailin which hit Odisha on the night of October 12 and was followed by floods from the next day. Around 1.20 crore people in 17 districts of Odisha have been affected due to the twin calamities.

A high-level state government official, engaged in relief and rehabilitation of cyclone and flood-affected people, however, felt that holding a high-profile cricket match at the time of disaster was not correct.

"But the state government has no authority to cancel it. Only the BCCI can do it," he said.    

But the inclement weather has not deterred cricket-lovers from buying tickets to watch the match. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000 and already 42,000 seats have been booked, OCA officials said.

Avid cricket-lover Sanket Patnaik said, "I hope God will hear our prayers and stop the rains".

The one-day series has riveted Indian fans mainly because of the visiting team's attacking brand of cricket under their new captain George Bailey, who has himself led from the front with aggressive batting.

The fourth one-dayer in Ranchi was washed out shortly into the second inning with India on 27 for no loss in reply to Australia's 295.

Despite their failing in Tests in the sub-continent, the Aussies have an excellent ODI record in India. The visitors have never lost a seven-match ODI series on Indian soil while in the six one-day series between the two nations on Indian soil, Australia has triumphed on four occasions.

(With inputs from agencies)


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