India v Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I, Ranchi February 11, 2016

Teams wary of dry Ranchi outfield

An almost barren outfield, with plenty of sand and patches missing grass, means that India and Sri Lanka will both be hoping to avoid any injuries

Play 01:48
Ranchi outfield doesn't seem ideal - Kapugedera

In a series that is seen as preparation for the World Twenty20, it is unfortunate for both the teams that the conditions given to them in the first two T20Is are highly unlikely to be replicated in a long time. After the bouncy and seaming pitch in Pune, the second T20I will be played on an almost barren outfield in Ranchi.

While close to half the ground looks yellow, there are big patches with absolutely no grass. It is hard to remember the last time an international was played on such a surface. When India toured South Africa in 2013-14, a rain-ravaged Durban outfield had to do with generous chunks of sawdust, making it look like a golf course, but even that outfield had more grassy patches on it.

It is worth noting that Ranchi, the hometown of India captain MS Dhoni, is a last-minute replacement for Delhi, which was originally scheduled to host this match. The match was shifted on January 29, which gave Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) a notice of 13 days. The ground also played host to 20 women's matches across formats - two-day, one-day and Twenty20 - in the month of January. After this match, it will go straight into hosting six women's internationals - between India and Sri Lanka - from February 15 to 26.

To add to the perfect storm, during the last off season, the JSCA decided to add more sand to the outfield, which was considered to be too hard. The rainfall has not been generous either. "For the last one month women's one-dayers and zonal matches were going on," JSCA secretary Rajesh Verma said. "So the ground was quite used. For an international match you need a better outfield. We had 10 days. It was a new challenge, and we have worked hard on it. It's easy to say no, but we took the challenge. And we have prepared it."

Parts of the outfield at the Jharkhand International Stadium appeared dry and barren on the eve of the match © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The head groundsman Vasudev spoke of the lack of rain: "The weather has not been good. According to the government a drought has been declared. Water is life. How will there be life without the water? We have tried to bring the water from outside and make it green."

Verma, however, said that JSCA had never considered refusing the match. He also said the association had tried its best and was hoping for a good match. Chamara Kapugedera, the Sri Lanka batsman, was not impressed, though. "Yes, it's not the ideal outfield but you have to put that apart and do what's necessary," Kapugedera said. "It's beyond our control anyway, and we have to play the match anyway. It doesn't look that bad, there's just sand and that's okay."

Ravi Shastri, India's team director, said he could tell from the outfield itself that the pitch was going to be dry. "I haven't seen the pitch yet," Shastri said, suggesting an extra spinner could play for India. "But what I see from the outfield is, it is pretty dry and there is a lot of sand. What it suggests is it has not had much of water. We are game to play horses for courses."

The ball could reverse even in a 20-over match thanks to the dry outfield. The biggest concern for the teams so close to the World T20 will be the risk of an injury on this outfield, which is bumpy and does not look too diving-friendly. However, both the sides promised the fielders won't be taking it easy.

"It's an international game, and there won't be a drop in standard due to the outfield," Kapugedera said. "We'll lift our game more. You have to be more careful while fielding. We'll put the bodies behind and do our best."

"They [the fielders] have to adapt," Shastri said. "It is, again, practice. They have to get their bodies behind the ball. Ground fielding might not be all that easy there. You could get some uneven bounce. But you should use this practice session to see what has to be done to ensure there are no misfields, which can happen tomorrow. But the lesser, the better."

Everybody involved will now hope this banana peel of a match goes without too much of bother, that for an international match it does not look too ugly, and that no one gets injured on the field.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rohan on February 12, 2016, 17:06 GMT

    ground looked pathetic, whats wrong with the groundsman?

  • Jose on February 12, 2016, 13:27 GMT

    @TIGER_RULES ON FEBRUARY 12, 2016, 9:43

    Without the World cup coming so soon, they would have tried their best to field risking injury.. But now, it will be foolish to let the players get injured. Irresponsible administrators!

  • Anura on February 12, 2016, 12:49 GMT

    It is disappointing to see that an international game is being played on a ground like this. ICC should come up with some standards for percentage of green cover on the ground. It is not good to play games on grounds that have very clear potential for injuries.

  •   Raghu Panjala on February 12, 2016, 12:16 GMT

    I dont get it.Why only Ranchi ,why not other fields that too 10-13 days ago? Why to make good of ground under repair instead of already well heeled ground? Probably thats got to do with not messing up pitches before ICC tournament. Hope this match goes well, without making issue of the ground.

  • Madhusudhan on February 12, 2016, 12:10 GMT

    If groundsman say, "water is brought from outside to make green", Where is green? Bringing water from outside alone will not make field green, it should sprinkled evenly on the field, then grass would have appeared. Looks like water was not bought or went into some other place than to field.

  • yatin on February 12, 2016, 9:43 GMT

    How good a player is who worry more by getting injured..plyer should know hw to protect their bodies from getting injured.. This really shows lack of game spirit...I don't think SL have that gret fielder,who can dive in outfield...Indian players like jaddu,raina,rahane,yuvi real great fielder should worry more instead SL fielders...but I M sure Indian player can field great even in wet outfield... We r proud to hv such great fielder in Indian side..real athletic..

  • Vidula on February 12, 2016, 9:17 GMT

    So this confirms how light BCCI have taken this short T20I tour. First a green pitch which backfired and now a barren outfield. Wow. This is how the so called wealthiest Cricketing body in the world organizes International matches.

  • Jose on February 12, 2016, 9:00 GMT

    Just imagine; this is the home ground of the second most powerful man in BCCI, Secretary Anurag Thakur!

    Homeground of the modern legend of an Indian Captain, who is almost getting ready to ride into the sunset, hopefully with yet another glory at the WC level (or at least with the big gloves on & giving that pair up only after hanging the boots pads and whatever else up), for good: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

    Welcome to the hallocian ground !


    I wish, I could be in the presser and these two gentlemen are there to respond to questions from the crowd!


    I am afraid, it may be Ravi Shastri at the mic, who can sexup anything, even this groud! Fearing that, I declare myself hurt in advance.

  • Pratyush on February 12, 2016, 8:07 GMT

    Well even though Ranchi is my home ground, considering the World Cup the match should not have been hosted here in order to avoid injury. 10 days is no time to organize a match and I understand JSCA did everything that is could. Here's hoping no one gets injured.

  • Jyotishman on February 12, 2016, 5:38 GMT

    Why aren't BCCI looking towards other venues. My city(Guwahati) is as parched for a match as the outfield in Ranchi. And guess what, there has been decent rain too...

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