You wished it stayed away. You wished you didn’t have to think about it. You wished you’d seen what you had come to see. You wished…
On Monday (September 30), it poured in the morning. And then it didn’t. But the damage was done. South Africa’s practice session had been cancelled. The area near the boundary ropes was wet. The one beyond that had puddles. Later in the day, India had called off their practice session as well. Clearly, players’ safety is paramount.
With two of the first three matches washed out, both India and South Africa are left scratching their heads with respect to their bench strength. In a five-match series, often it is seen that the last couple of games are the ones where the players on the fringe are put in and given a go.
“Whenever a series is included, the last thing you think about is the rain. So that is something that isn’t in anybody’s control,” said Hilton Moreeng, South Africa’s coach on Sunday (September 29). Sune Luus, the captain, also joked about switching the practice days and the match days around in order for the teams to get a game.
With the Navratri festivities on in Surat, there are a few who will miss the matches. But for those who flock to the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in large numbers, perhaps nothing beats the high of watching a cricket match live. Nothing else explains a turnout of over 10,000 on the first day of garba (Sunday), which is one the biggest festival in this part of the country.
There is rain in store again on Tuesday (October 1), the day of the fourth T20I between the two sides. Effectively, it is now a three-match series, in which India would take an unassailable lead, if they win on Tuesday – IF we get some cricket in, that is.
And yet again, hope is the only four-letter word we can bank on.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Veda Krishnamurthy, Anuja Patil, Deepti Sharma, Mansi Joshi, Jemimah Rodrigues, Pooja Vastrakar, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Shafali Verma
South Africa: Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Sune Luus (c), Lizelle Lee, Ayabonga Khaka, Lara Goodall, Laura Wolvaardt, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Anne Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Tazmin Brits, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nondumiso Shangase, Nonkululeko Mlaba