Despite efforts to drain out water, the outfield is very unplayable, say OCA officials

The cash-rich Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) will not mind requisitioning the services of a few helicopters to dry the Barabati outfield to make it match-fit for Saturday’s India-Australia crucial tie. This was announced by the OCA secretary Asirbad Behera on Thursday as rains continued to lash the city for last four days even as both the teams arrived at Bhubaneswar on the day after their fourth ODI was abandoned in Ranchi on Wednesday due to inclement weather.

Prayers mount

“We are making every possible effort to ensure that the match is played here on Saturday. If we get some respite from the rains on Friday, we are thinking of taking the services of some helicopters on Saturday morning for at least two hours to dry the outfield and make it match-fit”, Mr Behera said hoping that the Almighty will respond to the prayers of cricket enthusiasts of the State.

After 80 mm of rainfall on Monday, 94 mm on Tuesday and 77 mm on Wednesday, Cuttack city received around 100 mm of rainfall on Thursday completely paralyzing the normal life in the city. While the main roads and bylanes of the city are heavily waterlogged, the situation in Barabati stadium is no better. Despite the valiant efforts to drain out water from the Barabati grounds by pumps and other means, the outfield is very unplayable, say the OCA officials praying that there will be some respite from rains on Friday. “It’s not ground alone, other preparations in the stadium have also hampered the match,” said an organiser.

Sale of tickets

Meanwhile, there were also few takers for the match tickets as the counters opened on Thursday to sell some 4,000 leftover tickets. This is for the first time in the history of Barabati Stadium where the ODI tickets remained unsold even after two days of counter sale.