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India v Australia 2022/23

No rain but a 2.5 hour delay: BCCI criticised after India-Australia T20I shortened by wet outfield

by Wisden Staff 1 minute read

The BCCI has been criticised after the second T20I between India and Australia in Nagpur was delayed for two-and-a-half hours and shortened to an eight-a-side clash due to a wet outfield.

This is despite minimal rain in the immediate build-up to the game, with reports suggesting there has been no rain around the stadium since Thursday night.

Nagpur, hosting its first game since November 2019, had to be content with a curtailed T20I clash after the outfield was deemed unsuitable for play. Journalists shared images of bright sunshine on Friday afternoon.

Disappointment soon followed as the toss, scheduled to be held at 6.30 pm IST, was delayed due to overnight rain for half an hour. Another inspection revealed that the ground was still unfit for play despite the ground staff spraying a generous amount of sawdust on the outfield. When the match had not yet begun by the third inspection, at 8 pm IST, fears of a washout loomed large, with the cut-off time for a five-over game being 9.46 pm IST.

The match was eventually confirmed to begin at 9.30 pm IST, two-and-a-half hours after the scheduled start, with a maximum of eight overs being bowled by either team. India trail the three-match series 0-1.

Former India coach Ravi Shastri, who is commentating for the series, defended the umpire’s decision to delay the game. Speaking on Star Sports, he said, “See, it’s Catch-22. Yes, they would want a game even if it’s five overs, but then put the shoe on the other foot. You have a guy like Bumrah coming back into the side [after injury], he was marking his run-up today, in all probability, he would have played. Now, if it’s a five-over game, is it worth risking him? That’s the next question.

“India are one-down in the series, Australia are one-up. You have to think now, is it worth risking your players for five overs? Obviously, the umpires are going to have a chat with the players. They have clearly said player safety is important. There is a risk, there is no question about it. It’s at the back of your mind – you’re thinking, three weeks or four weeks from now, you’re playing a big World Cup, and that will play into their minds. I think that’s what makes the umpire’s jobs that much tougher. If there was no World Cup, you might have had a five-over game.”

Others, however, were dismayed by the lack of infrastructure and lashed out at the BCCI.

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