ACA comes under fire for poor management

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Guwahati T20I called off due to wet patches on pitch

HT bureau

GUWAHATI, Jan 5: Disappointing news for the jam-packed crowd Barshapara stadium in Guwahati on Sunday as the first T20 International between India and Sri Lanka was called off without a ball being bowled as the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) groundsmen failed to prevent the rain water from seeping into the covers.

There was heavy rain after the toss after which some water seeped in on the surface from the covers. There were a lot of efforts made to dry up the pitch but none worked.

The umpires held several inspections but the damp patches on the pitch did not allow the match to start, much to the disappointment of fans who had gathered in large numbers to watch their favourite stars in action.

The dampness on the pitch did not allow a single ball to be bowled, much to the disappointment of a strong 35000 crowd at Barsapara Cricket Stadium.

The cut off for a five-over shootout was 9.46 pm but the outfield and the pitch could not be prepared on time and match referee David Boon called off the match shortly before 10pm.

The groundsmen even used vacuum drier to remove the damp patches on the pitch, but it did not help much.

Earlier, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bowl but the start was delayed due to rain. India pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who was out of action for four months due to stress fractures in his back, was named in the eleven by Kohli.

Even after the rain had stopped the play couldn’t start as water had seeped on to the pitch, creating damp patches on both the ends of the pitch.

The groundsmen tried everything to get the pitch match-ready but failed. Finally, the umpires decided to call off the game after their final inspection at 9:30 PM IST.

Several TV commentators blamed Assam Cricket Association (ACA) for poor management of the pitch.

Spin wizard Harbhajan Singh said that the curator should have taken upmost care of the pitch.

Terming it a “school-boy error”, cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra lashed out at the ACA’s negligence, while former India opener VVS Laxman called it an “elementary mistake”.

“It’s nothing but a school boy error. The 22-yard is a sacrosanct place and they have left a few holes in the cover as some amount of water seeped in. It is some amount of negligence. You can’t have an excuse at this level,” Chopra said.

The second match of the three-match series will be played on Tuesday in Indore while the final game is scheduled to be held in Pune on January 10. (With inputs from PTI)

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