Rocker Meatloaf’s words, “All revved up and no place to go,” could well describe the dilemma before the sell-out crowd that turned up for the first ever international T20 contest, which was abandoned due to heavy rain at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA stadium here on Saturday. Such had been the enthusiasm, that the sold-out sign was up in just one day!
There was some consolation for the crowd; it wildly cheered as Yuvraj Singh took a stroll along the ropes after he was felicitated by the Andhra Cricket Association.
An hour before the contest between New Zealand and India could unfold, dark clouds enveloped the arena, doused it with a drizzle initially, had the ground staff dilly-dallying with the covers and bringing the protection on when the downpour grew dense.
Earlier, there seemed to be one optimistic soul around.
“The rain has only to stop,” said Dr. Vijay D. Patil, BCCI Observer. Not merely an armchair expert, he had gone through the grind of hosting T20 matches at the D.Y. Patil Stadium and literally from the grass-root level upwards.
“The high sand content in the outfield coupled with a good drainage system here in Vizag should see the ground dry out really fast. Last night it poured but this morning it was bone dry,” he said.
“The zeal of Vizag’s denizens matches that of the ground staff, toiling to save the game from the elements,” Dr. Patil says. “With dwindling crowd attendance for Test matches, it would make much sense to have the game’s longest version in venues such as these,” he said.
His increased connect with ground management goes back to 1996 but the one that caught the eye was the eventual venue of the 2008 and 2010 IPL finals.
“We imported 200 tonnes of soil from Pretoria with the hope that the high clay content would make a fast and bouncy track of our strip. Differing climatic conditions between the South African city and Mumbai didn’t make the venture a success exactly but gave us valuable lessons in pitch preparation and turf management,” he said.
So barely 24 hours after the 2008 final, he had the whole square dug up and relaid, this time with local soil. “Now by incorporating modern turf management techniques, we’ve achieved great results, pointing perhaps to a future where it would be practical to have stadia that are multi-purpose and multi-functional,” he feels.
“Wembley stadium is a classic example — it is used for most of the year and not just for football. Cricket stadia could benefit by using portable pitch technology,” he avers, based on his observation of the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.
“In addition to cricket, the ground is regularly used for Australian Rules Football, besides social and entertainment events as well.”