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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

India vs New Zealand: Why play was stopped due to sunlight in Napier ODI

The sun was falling directly on the batsman and India opener Shikhar Dhawan complained to the umpires about the problem during the first ODI match against New Zealand.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2019 12:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India face New Zealand in the first ODI encounter in Napier.
India face New Zealand in the first ODI encounter in Napier.(Twitter)
         

There are a lot of reasons why a cricket match can get delayed but if one is asked to guess, sunlight will not be one of their top ones. However, that was exactly the case during the first ODI encounter between India and New Zealand in Napier as the umpires decided to leave the pitch due to disturbance caused by the setting sun.

Normally, the pitches in cricket grounds are positioned in a North-South direction precisely to avoid this scenario, but at McLean Park, the pitch is facing East-West. As a result, the sun was falling directly on the batsman and India opener Shikhar Dhawan complained to the umpires about the problem.

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“The setting sun is directly in the eyes of the batsmen. So we got to consider the safety of the players, umpires. So we have decided to suspend play until conditions improve. This is the first time in my 14 years I have seen something like this happen on a cricket field. Good news is we have 30 minutes extra time. We are hoping to be back in 30 minutes and it will still be a 50-over game,” umpire Shaun Haig explained.

This is not the first time when sunlight has delayed play during a cricket match. In 1995, the Test match between England and West Indies in Old Trafford saw this exact problem. According to umpire Dickie Bird, there was apparently a greenhouse in the practice grounds adjacent to Old Trafford and the sunlight reflecting off it was too strong for the eyes of batsmen for play to go on. This venue has also seen a number of stoppages this month with a number of domestic games facing similar sort of issues due to the direct sunlight.

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“We had talked about it in the pre-series chat. It’s something different,” said New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor.

“We are trying to find out ways to deal with this problem,” said Napier’s mayor Bill Dalton while talking to official broadcaster ‘Star Sports’.

India made a mockery of McLean Park’s billing as a batting paradise as they rolled New Zealand for 157 in Napier on Wednesday, with only captain Kane Williamson showing any resistance.

New Zealand were all out with 12 overs remaining, having opted to bat first, as Williamson struck a hard-fought 64.

In reply, India were 44 for the loss of one wicket in 10 overs with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli at the crease.

(With agency inputs)