India vs Sri Lanka: ‘Everyone was shocked’ - Zaheer Khan slams preparations after Guwahati T20I called off
Former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan slammed preparations at Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati after the first T20I between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to wet pitch on Sunday. The rain started pouring down in Guwahati immediately following the toss, but it stopped after 30 minutes. Despite several attempts to dry out the pitch on time, the officials decided to call off the play after a late inspection showed there were still wet patches on the surface.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, the former left-arm pacer said: “When there is water on the wicket that really changes the dynamics of the game. Everyone was shocked because the rain stopped and in today’s day and age this is the last thing on your mind that water has gone on the wicket through the covers,” he said.
“Bit disappointing but we don’t know the exact story. Maybe the pitch wasn’t covered properly because to hear a cover not being taken properly is something which is unheard of,” he added.
Former India batsman-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra also questioned the preparations of ground before the match. “The outfield is bone-dry so I’d say it’s a schoolboy error that the water has seeped onto the pitch. Perhaps there are a few holes in the covers. It’s really disappointing preparation for an international game,” he said during Star Sports broadcast.
According to Devajit Saikia, secretary, Assam Cricket Association (ACA), the match couldn’t start because of rain. “The official reason is rainfall. There were two spells of heavy showers that didn’t allow the ground to be ready,” he said.
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Asked about the patches on the pitch, he said: “I have no idea because I have not spoken to the curator or the groundsmen. Once I speak to them, I will be able to know if there were any lapses.” Later he said: “Maybe the pitch got damp because of heavy shower and water on the cover.” Saikia also said it rained till 9:15pm; however, the covers had come off the square at around 7:50pm.
India and Sri Lanka will play 2nd T20I on Tuesday at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. The three-match T20I series between the two teams is the first campaign for Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team this year.