THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On Monday the sun chose to remain hidden behind dark clouds. The Northeast Monsoon has been generous to the city as rains lashed Thiruvananthapuram for six straight hours on Monday.
At a time the city is gearing up to host an international cricket match after 29 years, the incessant downpour was the last thing the public wanted.
The fervour of cricket was still towering over rain blues. Crowds were waiting eagerly for stars. There was an outcry over lack of tickets, with the odd, hushed tone saying some are available ‘on black’. A city without much cricketing history seems to have suddenly become a bastion of the game.
The public are willing to cheer for cricketers being taken over by the U-17 football World Cup. With Kochi slowly moving out of the cricket map due to its ISL connections, Thiruvananthapuram, it transpires, is getting ready to fill in the shoes.But Monday’s heavy downpour has marooned its enthusiasm. Suddenly, the talk has deviated from who will win the decider to whether the match will be played.
“I wanted to take my family for the match. But I managed only two tickets and need three more. I was running pillar to post when it started rained heavily. Now I am unsure whether to pursue or not. What if I get the tickets but the match gets called off?” said Sameer Abdul Manaf, an Ayurvedic doctor.
It is not just the public who are worried about the rain. The threat of it featured in players’ conversations too. New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner said they would love to play as it’s not often to have India’s back against the wall. India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said they would have liked to assess the pitch if there was no rain.
“Hopefully, we will get a chance to inspect it during warm-up before the start.” The pitch and the 30-yard circle remained under covers as the teams chose to cancel training sessions. Kerala Cricket Association officials are optimistic they can hold the match provided it doesn’t rain. “Even if it rains overnight, our drainage system is so good that the water will disappear in less than 30 minutes,” said KCA secretary Jayesh George.
The groundsmen had conducted mock drills after the ground got ratified by the ICC as an international venue and during those drills, the drainage system was found to be functioning better than expected.
The basis of optimism from KCA side is the ‘herring bone system’ installed in the stadium. This system has a regular run of drain connected to a spine that leads to the main drain.
KCA officials are confident water can be removed in a short time. Jayesh felt a little bit of sun on Tuesday can make the match possible. “We are hoping for the best,” he said. So are the fans!