A ‘WET’ pitch and an awkward blow to Parthiv Patel’s shoulder saw play on the opening day of the Gujarat-Odisha Ranji quarterfinal in Jaipur being suspended briefly. The pitch at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, according to Gujarat coach Vijay Patel, had been wet since the start of the day and that he had even brought it to the umpires’ attention. However, the officials deemed it fit to commence play on time before having to call for an early lunch-break, 47 minutes before the scheduled interval. Play eventually resumed only after the pitch was rolled and the excess moisture had been taken care of.
“The wicket was wet even when the match started. We told the umpires that the wicket is wet before play started but they said no it’s fine. Toss took place and we went to bat. We lost two early wickets.We knew this (the suspension) was coming as the ball was keeping low while there was sudden bounce sometimes. This happened in the first one hour of the game,” Patel said.
It, however, took a good length delivery to explode off the surface and strike India wicket-keeper Parthiv’s shoulder for the umpires to take serious notice and bring the game to a halt. Coach Patel feels that further physical danger was averted by the umpires’ decision as the pitch had the potential to cause serious damage.
“Parthiv was hurt. We complained to the on-field umpires and then play was stopped. The good length spot was completely wet. Luckily, we were not bowling first otherwise the way Jasprit Bumrah bowls, it could have been very dangerous,” he said.
The Gujarat coach reckoned that the local authorities might have watered the pitch too much and covered it soon after without letting it dry up.
“When we drew the umpires’ attention, they said this is a norm here. We lost two wickets when the pitch was in that state. This is a quartefinal and not a league game. They should take note. Rolling the pitch in the middle of a game doesn’t look good,” Patel added.
For the record, Gujarat recovered to make 179 for 6 at stumps on Day One after having languished at 71 for 6 at one stage. Chirag Gandhi and Rush Kalaria were the ones who bailed their team out and finished unbeaten on 62 and 59 respectively.
Brief scores: Gujarat 197/6 (C Gandhi 62*, R Kalaria 59*; Deepak Behera 3/36) vs Orissa in Jaipur