India v South Africa: Match called off
The third and final T20 international between India and South Africa was abandoned on Thursday without a ball being bowled because of a wet outfield, allowing the visitors to clinch the three-match series by 2-0 margin.
The abandonment of the game after just a passing evening shower again showed the poor drainage system of the iconic Eden Gardens as the umpires called off the match post their 9:30 pm inspection much to the dismay of the few thousands, who had come to the ground to watch in expectation of an exciting encounter.
The failure to start the match even after seven hours also potrayed Cricket Association of Bengal in a very poor light as the match could not be started despite using three super soppers. Veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee’s role has also come under scanner as the outfield was not covered despite the forecasts of a passing shower and knowledge of the stadium’s dubious record in times of rain interruptions.
For the record, the Alipore Met office recorded 14.22 mm of rainfall between 1pm and 2.30pm and the CAB authorities had more than five hours time to get the ground ready.
“The rainfall at the Eden Gardens however can be less or more but we cannot ascertain that as we don’t have any instrument there,” regional Met director GC Debnath told PTI regarding the rainfall due to the low pressure formation in Bay of Bengal.
But as it turned out after three rounds of inspections at every hour’s interval beginning with 7.30 it was about delaying the inevitable — another abandonment with little or no rain.
It was also an ominous start to the new CAB management under president-designate Sourav Ganguly after the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya September 20 as their efficiency would be up for a serious scrutiny with the hallowed venue slated to host the final of the World Twenty20 next year.
Surprising as it may sound but only the match strip and the two practice pitches on both the sides of the dressing room were covered during the spell of rain despite the fact that the Eden has the option to fully cover the ground.
Minutes after the rain subsided in the afternoon, the former India captain and now CAB supremo Ganguly was seen taking a stock of the situation of the ground with his denims rolled up.
But the harsh ground reality remained that the Eden was staring at another washout, despite no or little rain as BCCI promptly wrote in their Twitter feed: “Despite the lack of rain of late, the umpires aren’t happy.”
The umpire duo of Anil Chaudhary and Vineet Kulkarni first inspected the ground at 7.30pm and it seemed that they were particularly unhappy of the practice pitch areas as the groundsmen were pressed into action with three super soppers, while some were seen sweeping the affected areas and even spreading sands to dry the dampness.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “Once there was a heavy shower although for an hour, I knew that it would be difficult to start the game. The exercise went on for hours testing the patience of 25,000-odd crowd and to their utter shock the big display showed the next inspection would be at 8.30 which turned out to be an action replay of the earlier inspection.
As for the players, most of them from both the camps largely stayed away apparenlty suggesting thier unwillingness to turn out in the third T20I which had become a dead rubber after South Africa’s back to back wins in Dharmasala and Cuttack.
With the five-match ODI beginning October 11 in Kanpur, the players would obviously be apprehensive about injuries.The day brought back the memory of Bengal’s 2013-14 season Ranji Trophy match against Baroda (October 27-30) which was called off after the groundsmen could not make the ground ready after two days’ of rainfall.
The CAB had blamed the stadium’s proximity to the Hooghly river for the ground to remain soggy but the detractors alleged that a Ranji match in 2013 against Baroda was alsp affected because of the state body’s callousness.
During that match, not a ball was bowled on all four days despite bright sunshine as it had rained heavily for two days prior to that particular game.
“We’re helpless as the Hooghly is about 100 metres from the stadium so the field is bound to remain soggy despite the bright sunny days,” CAB joint secretary Subir Ganguly put up a weak defence as the T20 series will be remembered for the poor organisation skills of the two eastern units Odisha and Bengal.