Dhiraj Parsana and his band of workers are pretty busy at the Motera stadium on Sunday. Well into his 66th year the former Test cricketer-turned-curator makes a quick comparison between the soil profiles of the pitch and the outfield. He pulls out a screw driver, holds it straight against the pitch, and tries to pierce the surface at a spot at good length, and says: “It’s rock hard. The teams are going to like it.”
“The outfield is somewhat soft and it needs more sunlight and wind.”
He says he hopes that the inclement weather does not interfere with the two matches to be played here on Monday.
It was perhaps the brightest day in a week, and the Trinidad & Tobago team seems pleased with the sunny weather, and the near-to-ship-shape conditions at the venue for its crucial Group ‘B’ match against South Africa’s Titans scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
Thereafter, the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Brisbane Heat will complete the double-header.
Exactly seven days ago, a heavy downpour after Highveld Lions had won the toss and elected to bowl against Perth Scorchers, rendered the outfield in puddles. The possibility of a game of cricket at Motera in the outskirts of the city seemed pretty far-fetched, with several parts of the State reeling under wet weather for five days. The match between Mumbai Indians and Perth Scorchers was even relocated to Jaipur.
But the superb work carried out by the GCA ground staff with three super soppers enabled the authorities stick to the original schedule and get the three teams — Titans, Brisbane Heat and Sunrisers Hyderabad — here by a chartered flight on Sunday afternoon.
Praising the dedicated team for repairing the 30-yard circle, and the extremely soft areas near the boundary line, Parsana tells them to take a tea-break and said: “These guys have been wonderful and uncomplaining. The sand base has helped matters, but not the sharp showers in the afternoon and at midnight for six days. It rained last night.”
“It’s been 40 hours of solid work. All credit to them. We will try hard to give the teams the best conditions.”
T&T’s manager Omar Khan says his team has taken full advantage of the good practice conditions at the annexe ground.
“The weather has improved and we were pleasantly surprised to be able to practice outdoors yesterday and today. It’s bright and sunny today, and we love these conditions,” he says.
“We have recognised that it’s a must win game against the Titans. Once we win the match we know that we are almost in the semifinals; that’s the motivation for the guys.”
“We play exciting cricket, we bring flair and entertainment,” says Khan, adding that mentor Brian Lara would be at the venue to inspire the team.
With three wins, CSK has confirmed its semifinal berth. Titans and T&T will hope to book the second.
It looks tough for the Sunrisers, and the Australian team has already been eliminated.