THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With North-East monsoon showers lashing the city from Monday noon, cricket fans and enthusiasts were a worried lot. Everyone’s keeping their fingers crossed and hoping the rains will not spoil the much-awaited India vs New Zealand T 20 match which will be played at Sports Hub, Trivandrum at Kariavattom. From Monday morning, the sky above the city was overcast with dark clouds and it started pouring heavily from the afternoon accompanied by thunder and lightning. For the last two days, the city has been witnessing rain during the day as well as night.
Though rain began pouring in the afternoon, the fans, who had booked their tickets online could be seen flocking to the booths set up outside the stadium to get the entry pass. The road leading to the stadium witnessed heavy rush. Street vendors were also seen doing a brisk business selling jerseys and hats near the stadium.
Praying the rain will not play a spoilsport, Rajesh from Neyyattinkara said he hoped sun would come out in all its glory on Tuesday. “Everyone is very eager to see the match. We all hope the rain god will have mercy on us and won’t come dashing down at least on Tuesday afternoon. An international cricketing event is coming to the city after a very long time,” he said. Similar, view was shared by Deepak, a student at University College. He said, “We had booked the tickets way ahead and hope there will not be any disappointments in store.”
However, the officials are hopeful the rains will not wash out the much-awaited match. They said even if it rained all day, the drainage system at the stadium is good and the ground can be cleared of rainwater within a short time. “We are confident of setting the ground within minutes once the rain stops. Super soppers and other facilities are all available at the stadium. All these will help to drain the pitch and the ground even if it rains during the match,” the officials said.
The stadium, which has international facilities, is all set to welcome thousands of cricket fans. It is for the first time that the tickets got sold out. Both the teams arrived in the capital city on Sunday night.
The T20 international match also marked the launch of ‘Yes to Cricket, No to Drugs’ anti-drug campaign being jointly launched by the Kerala Police and the Kerala Cricket Association. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the campaign which aims at making youngsters more focussed on sports rather than getting addicted to drugs and other intoxicants. The campaign was launched in the presence of the members of the Indian cricket team.