India’s packed home season pushing cricket into wet weather
A busy home season awaits the India cricket team and that means matches will be held in months when no cricket was held due to poor weathercricket Updated: Jul 23, 2016 22:57 IST
In 2012, during New Zealand’s last bilateral tour of India, part of the roof in the media box at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium leaked as rains lashed the city. The game had to be stopped more than once. It was no different in Bengaluru. Both the Tests were affected by weather and the T20I at Visakhapatnam was washed out.
Late August and early September is never ideal to play cricket in India, unless you are talking about local monsoon games in tournaments like the Kanga league in Mumbai.
England followed New Zealand that season, and beat the hosts on turning tracks.
This season, the schedule is quite similar with New Zealand touring for three Tests followed by England for five Tests. Only that the New Zealand tour starts in mid-to-late September instead of August as it did in 2012. The monsoon will be gone by then but some threat of rain will remain.
The first Test starts at Kanpur on September 22. The Met department forecasts rain and thundershowers in the city in the days leading up to it. Kolkata and Indore will host the other two Tests.
Things could be worse in Visakhapatnam, which hosts England mid-November for its first-ever Test. The Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) has sent a request to the BCCI to change the schedule as they expect thundershowers during the dates.
November though is probably the best month for cricket in India.
Gokaraju Gangaraju, the president of ACA, says, “We have requested the BCCI to shift our game to some other dates, replace it with some other venue as we are expecting thundershowers.”
Gangaraju, who is also the chairman of the BCCI tours and fixtures committee, admits that cricket being played throughout the year makes things a bit difficult. “We have a period where we have to fulfil our obligations.”
Staging the Indian Premier League in peak summer has already carved up time during a period that was for the players to rest.
The BCCI’s four-year deal with Star Sports, signed in late 2013 to sponsor the India team, gets approximately Rs.40 crore per match. The channel will no doubt look to maximise returns on their investment with as many matches as they can squeeze out of the board.
In fact, when the Big Three boards had their way in the ICC revamp in early 2014, the then BCCI secretary (now president) Anurag Thakur had told Hindustan Times that they’d like to make room for a regular home series every year. Unfortunately, with most countries having their home series during the time India are likely to have theirs, adjustments like advancing some of the series to ‘previously untouched months’ will have to be made. Also, with the Board adding six new Test centres, the job of keeping track of weather in different parts will also demand attention.