Rain threat looms over Kochi ODI

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/r/rain-cricket11.jpg' class='caption'> Heavy rain in Kochi since Thursday night has raised concerns about the fate of the first one-dayer between India and Australia here on October 17.

Updated: October 15, 2010 11:51 IST
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Heavy rain in Kochi since Thursday night has raised concerns about the fate of the first one-dayer between India and Australia here on October 17.

The practice sessions of both the teams have been cancelled due to the rains, Kerala Cricket Association sources said.

The Australian team was to practise this morning and the Indian team in the afternoon, but due to the rains both the practice sessions have been cancelled, the sources said. "The ground condition is very bad. There is lot of water in the ground," the sources said.

"However, if the rains clear by this afternoon and there is sunshine, we will try our best to clear the water," the sources said.

Though the ground has been covered with the plastic covers brought from Chennai, there is seepage into the ground due to the heavy rains, the sources said.

The Indian and Australian team members had reached here on Saturday after the second Test in Bangalore, which India won. India had also won the first Test at Mohali.

According to the Met department, the weather on Friday and Saturday will be cloudy with one or two showers. It is likely to clear by Sunday.

Kerala Cricket Association secretary, T C Mathew, told reporters here if there is sunshine on Saturday, the match would be played. Three super-soppers are being put to use in the ground which has never been done before. Hundreds of workers are mopping the ground which will be ready for the match.

The wicket umpire has inspected the ground and expressed satisfaction, but there is little concern with regard to outfield, he said.

'Our agenda is to first clear 30 yards of the playing area after which the outfield beyond 30 yards would be taken up for drying', he said adding plastic cover has been spread completely in the playing area.

In 2007, also there was a similar situation and there were speculations that the match would not be held, he said.

On the practice matches, he said 'we will inform the two team managements about the ground conditions this evening and after which a decision would be taken about the practise matches'.

Asked if the ticket sales had been hit due to senior players of both teams dropping out of the ODI squad, Mathew said the ticket sales was encouraging. The members of both the ODI teams have proven their strengths in T20 and IPL matches.

'I do not think the Indian side is a depleted side and Australian team was also good'.

The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the venue of the Indo-Australian one-dayer, has been thoroughly 'netted' by Matsyafed, to safeguard players.

A 3.25 lakh sq. ft. stretch, covering the entire stadium including the pitch from the spectators? gallery has been covered by 1.5 MM UV treated Hi Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) fishing nets produced by Matsyafed (Kerala State Cooperative Federation for Fisheries Development) in its net factory at Kochi.

It took ten days for the employees to produce the net and to complete the installation in the Stadium, Matsyafed said in a release here. VIP Pavilion in the stadium too will have the same protection.

The ultra violet treatment provided in the nets also helps reduction of temperature inside the stadium. The nets can be rolled back after use and could be reused, for successive matches happening in the next 3-4 years.

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