May 25, 2002

Rain forces Sabina Park one-dayer to be abandoned

  shares

Lashed by rains ever since the conclusion of the final Test, Sabina Park, despite the excellent facilities for draining the ground, remained water-logged enough for the first one-dayer between India and the West Indies to be abandoned very early.

Umpires Eddie Nichols and Russell Tiffin preferred to have the groundstaff working towards getting the ground ready for the second one-day international on Sunday. The pitch, covered more than adequately, should be preserved well for the second match, and more protection will be accorded to the playing surface.

The real problem lay within the 30-metre circle, which was soaked from the incessant rain, and that condition in main spurred the umpires to abandon play.

"The groundsmen have been working hard over the last two days and had done a pretty good job, but the heavy rain overnight left us with no option," Nichols said. "We were definitely hopeful of getting some play today, even if not the full 50 overs. Now we can only hope for some sunshine ahead of tomorrow's game."

The rains, though, could have served as a potential Test series decider if India's tailenders had managed to remain at the crease for even half an hour more than they did on the fifth morning. Even as the presentation ceremony concluded, the clouds spilled their burden, drenching Ian Bishop at a post-match interview.

Sourav Ganguly, in an interview, said that India needed a one-day series win to boost their morale after a depressing five Tests. The arrival of the limited-overs specialists goes a long way in improving the touring side's chances. Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Virender Sehwag are all hard-hitting batsmen, useful bowlers and agile fielders, while Ajit Agarkar and Murali Kartik are utility players as well.

The West Indies, for their part, will look to all-rounder Gareth Breese to give the side balance. Corey Collymore comes in for Adam Sanford, but the remainder of the squad carries over from the outfit that did Test duty.