Preparations have gathered pace for the One Day International (ODI) match between India and West Indies to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium at Kaloor on November 21.

The all important 22-yard playing surface will be in focus on Monday with the visit of P.R. Viswanathan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) zonal curator for South, for pitch inspection. The same pitch that was prepared for the Duleep Trophy final between North Zone and South Zone last month will be used for the ODI. That match was eventually washed out owing to wet playing conditions.

Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) officials said that not much needed to be done in terms of pitch preparations except for the routine rolling.

The KCA has received quite a stick from all quarters following the wash-out of the Duleep Trophy final. Jayesh George, joint secretary, KCA, said that the ODI facing such a prospect was most unlikely.

“For one, we have corrected the drainage facilities since then and the weather also seems more favourable unlike in the case of Duleep Trophy when it rained quite heavily for successive days. A one-off shower will not affect the match,” he said.

Much to the relief of KCA, the weather has been holding good for the past week, which was not the case when the city was declared the host of the ODI. However, not willing to take any chance, the KCA has bought from Nagpur huge covers capable of covering the entire ground. “The ground, pitch, dressing rooms, and stadium have all shaped up well for the match,” Mr. George said.

The only hitch is with regard to tickets where uncertainty still prevails over tax rebate with the Kochi Corporation yet to make a final call. Since waiting for the civic body’s decision would have made the timely printing and distribution of tickets almost impossible, the KCA has got the tickets printed in a high security press outside the State with the full fare inclusive of the entertainment tax.

The KCA is expecting the Corporation Council to take a decision by Monday in which case tickets sealed by the civic body would be out for sale by Wednesday. Tickets would be sold through select branches of Federal Bank in the State and probably in Coimbatore as had been done in the past.

Asked what can be done about the tickets printed with full fare if the corporation offers a tax rebate, Mr. George said that a decision was yet to be taken in this regard.

Tickets have been printed in five denominations – Rs. 200 for gallery, Rs. 500, Rs. 1,000 and Rs, 2,000 for chairs and Rs. 3,000 for chairs in air conditioned enclaves.

A decision on whether to have sale through the ticket counter at the stadium depends on a security assessment by the police.

Meanwhile, online sale of chair tickets starting from Rs. 1,000 has evoked a tremendous response. Those booking tickets online need to produce the printed slip at the Palarivattom branch of Federal Bank to exchange it for tickets.

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