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It’s almost become a part of the experience of watching cricket in the subcontinent to see a dog saunter onto the field right in the middle of a match. It gives the fans a bit of comic relief and the photographers a chance to get some offbeat photos. But the dogs at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi, could, apparently, have had a more telling influence on matches during the 2011 World Cup. The BCCI pitch and grounds committee had ordered balloons, which were to be used to bring on the covers in case of any rain. However, according to a report in the Hindustan Times, the groundstaff noticed the balloons had been torn up by stray dogs even before tournament had started. Luckily, the balloons were fixed in time, and it didn’t rain during any of the matches.
The balloons themselves have caused a stir as the Kotla curator, Radheshyam, said they take 10 minutes to inflate, which would delay the covers being brought onto the pitch. He also said that when filled the balloons cover a part of the advertising hoardings on the ground, which are an important revenue stream. The BCCI pitch and grounds committee chairman, Venkat Sundaram, though, said the balloons were an effective method and the ground staff just needed to be trained in how to use them. And of course they have to be kept out of the way of hungry dogs.