'Where will the water go? It's the rainy season'
'The groundstaff did a great job. I think Probir da (curator Probir Mukherjee) should be complemented'
Team India director Ravi Shastri lauded the groundstaff at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata even as the Cricket Association of Bengal came under severe criticism for 'inefficiency' in the India-South Africa third Twenty20 International which was called off without a ball being bowled because of wet outfield.
"Where will the water go? It's the rainy season. The groundstaff did a great job when I saw the outfield. I think Probir da (curator Probir Mukherjee) should be complemented. Though we didn't play on it, the pitch even looked good," Shastri told reporters.
Blaming the fiasco on its curator, Probir Mukherjee, CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said the veteran should step down and hand over the charge to someone young.
"There was rain forecast but he chose not to cover the ground as a precaution. With due respect, I feel he's getting old and it's time that he gives the responsibility to someone young," Biswarup said.
The CAB came under severe criticism after failing to get the field ready even more than seven hours after it rained in the afternoon. The match was called off after a third inspection at 9.30pm.
This was an ominous start for the new management of CAB, under president designate Sourav Ganguly, after the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya.
"To have an abandoned game at Eden Gardens is most disappointing because of the crowd. These are circumstances that are not entirely in your control. The umpires know what's the best for both sides. They know the One-Day series is coming up in two days from now," Shastri said.
"They would have taken all these into the account plus the crowd. We would have wanted a match but these are unforeseen things. We waited for more than an hour. It's unbelievable.
"The problem was there was no sunshine. And, unfortunately, the sun doesn't shine in the night. When the field got wet, it needed good sunshine. Even if it was a day game, it would have taken a long time. The square was fine. Twenty yards down that, it was very, very soft and soggy. I'm being very, very honest about it and the umpires took all that into account. To call off a game it must be serious," he said.
"The problem in Kolkata is that you have had a lot of rain, and the ground can only take so much rain. So, whatever it rained in that one hour was so heavy that water was sitting on the top. If the same rain had happened in February or March, it would have gone straight down," Shastri added.
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