Cricket World Cup warm-up match | Storm blows India’s warm-up match away

Moist warm-up: It was not the ideal dress rehearsal for the defending champion and the host.

Moist warm-up: It was not the ideal dress rehearsal for the defending champion and the host.
| Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Be it the southern end of the sub-continent of North-East India, rain hasn’t stopped chasing the Indian team. A thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon turned the World Cup warm-up game between India and England into a damp squib.

A drizzle started minutes after Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat. It soon grew into a storm. The umpires finally walked out for a formal inspection at 5: 30 p.m. – the scheduled innings break – and called the game off to the utter disappointment of the spectators who had hung around, hoping against hope for some cricketing action.

Long before the formal abandonment, both teams had returned to their hotels, sensing that the storm was not going to wither down so easily. While the ground staff struggled to cover the pitch and the bowling run-ups, operational hazards made their job worse than the sudden thunderstorm.

On Friday, the covers were rightly placed just outside the boundary rope. But sensing that it was hiding a part of the advertising billboards, the covers were placed beyond the signages on Saturday.

It meant the ground staff had to waste additional time first lifting the heavy covers above the billboards before placing them on the outfield. Despite the teams leaving the stadium, the umpires had to postpone the abandonment considering the possibility of a 20-over-a-side content.

With a 7: 30 p.m. cut-off, the umpires were informed that the groundstaff would take at least 90 minutes before the ground was made fit for play. Once the rain persisted, the umpires were forced to call off the game.

The storm also blew away some of the branded hoardings at the south end of the Assam Cricket Association stadium. Thankfully, with the spectators having already taken shelter, there were no injuries.

Besides, the water outlets in higher tiers also resulted in mini-waterfalls on the lower levels of the stands all over the stadium. Despite taking the long road to Guwahati, India will not be too disappointed with the abandonment. Rohit had told the host broadcaster that the game was “just a formality” for his team.

India’s contingent will depart for Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, where it will face the Netherlands on Tuesday, the last day of warm-ups. England, meanwhile, will hope for improved weather on Monday when it faces Bangladesh in its last warm-up fixture. 

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