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Cricket

Rain washes out first India-South Africa ODI in Dharamsala

6092
By PTI Updated: Mar 12, 2020 11:26 pm
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Spectators wait for the start of the first ODI cricket match between India and South Africa, which has been delayed due to rains, at HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala on Thursday.

Dharamsala, March 12 (PTI): The first ODI between India and South Africa was on Thursday abandoned without a ball being bowled due to incessant rain here.

It was the second match in less than six months to be abandoned at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium because of inclement weather.

Incidentally, that match was also an India-South Africa clash in September last year.

The first ODI of the three-match series was always in doubt after the weatherman forecast widespread rains and thundershowers over the region on Thursday and Friday because of fresh western disturbance over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir.

Fans and organisers had offered prayers at the Indrunag Temple in the hills overlooking the stadium in an attempt to appease the rain gods.

Heavy rain had also lashed the hill town just after the two teams’ practice sessions on Wednesday, forcing the organisers to cover the entire playing area.

If that was not enough, it rained the entire night on the eve of the match.

It was overcast for major part of the day and heavens opened up just before the start. It rained on and off after that, forcing the toss to be delayed and bringing ground staff into action.

The rain was not that heavy but was enough for water to accumulate, forcing organisers to press three super-soppers into action.

But despite working tirelessly, the ground staff failed to clear the ground, forcing the on-field umpires to call off the match.

The cut-off time for a 20-over game was 6.30pm (IST) but the on-field umpires made their final inspection and decided to abandon the match much before that.

The novel coronavirus outbreak and adverse weather conditions affected ticket sales as well.

The second ODI of the series will be played in Lucknow on March 15 while the third and final match will be in Kolkata’s iconic Eden Gardens on March 18.

Matches to be held in empty stadiums, confirms BCCI

The remaining two one-dayers between India and South Africa will be played in empty stadiums in Lucknow and Kolkata due to the dreaded novel coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI confirmed on Thursday.

The matches are scheduled to be held in March 15 (Lucknow) and March 18 (Kolkata).

The sports ministry has issued an advisory that in case it’s unavoidable to postpone a sporting event, then it is preferable that it be conducted without a large public gathering.

“After holding discussions with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and Ministry Of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), the BCCI on Thursday announced that the remaining two One-day Internationals of the three-match series of South Africa tour of India, 2020, will be played without any public gathering, including spectators,” a BCCI media release stated.

“The BCCI has been working closely with the Government of India along with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the wake of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak,” it added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Wednesday, assessed that Covid-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

“The BCCI is making every effort for compliance with the regulatory bodies of the Government of India and ensure the safety of our athletes and valued fans.”

The BCCI will continue to take guidance from the Government of India and state regulatory bodies.

The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) had confirmed in the evening itself that Lucknow ODI will be held behind closed doors while the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has also put ticket sales on hold with immediate effect, an indicator of things to come.

UPCA secretary Yudhveer Singh confirmed the development to the reporters in Lucknow on Thursday.

“After receiving the government advisory, we had a discussion with BCCI officials and then decided that spectators will be barred from entering the stadium during second ODI between India and South Africa on March 15,” Yudhveer said.

The CAB has decided to put ticket sales on hold, informed president Avishek Dalmiya, who also met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat in Kolkata to discuss the prevailing situation.

“I met our honourable CM at the secretariat. We would like to adhere to the government directive that has been issued today and we are stopping all ticket sales with immediate effect. We will wait till further directive,” Dalmiya told PTI from Kolkata.

The BCCI is starting with its closed-door policy as the fifth day of the Ranji Trophy final will be played in an empty stadium in Rajkot.

6092
By PTI Updated: Mar 12, 2020 11:26:59 pm