Monsoon series in Bangladesh a ~~crazy idea~~

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Chittagong:India's ill-timed tour of Bangladesh at the start of a grueling year-long schedule for its cricketers drew sharp criticism.

Indian and Bangladeshi officials were forced to duck for cover as inclement weather threatened to consign the first Test at the Ruhul Amin stadium to a watery grave.

With 83 overs lost on the first two days and rain threatening to wash out the rest of the match, the fate of the short series hangs on the second and final Test, which begins in Dhaka on May 25.

Dhaka, however, is also experiencing heavy rains that are normal for this time of the year and only a freakish change in weather patterns will see the second Test run its full course.

The Indian Meteorological Department last week offered to provide an input to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) before future tours are finalised.

But it did not need a met expert to predict the fallacy of holding a cricket series in Bangladesh in May when the monsoon rains, combined with cyclonic activity, hit the region.

Few have forgotten the deadly Cyclone Gorky that hit Chittagong on April 29, 1991 killing at least 138,000 and leaving an estimated 10 million homeless.

"It's a crazy idea to play cricket in this weather when it is either very hot and humid or it is raining," said Chittagong resident Mainul Alamgir.

Bangladesh cricket officials say India, who draw lucrative television revenue and sponsorship because of their vast cricket-watching population, were not available any other month.

"We've waited a long time for this tour," a local official said. "We were hoping the weather will not interfere but I suppose it was asking for too much."

A four-member BCCI delegation, headed by president Sharad Pawar, returned home on Sunday after getting a taste of the prevailing conditions. They saw just 20 overs being bowled the previous day.

The cricketers, meanwhile, had enough free time to ponder the back-breaking schedule that lies ahead once the current tour ends on May 29.

India will be on the road without a decent break until next April, playing 13 Tests and a minimum of 44 one-day internationals at home and abroad besides the inaugural Twenty20 world championships in South Africa in September.

Top stars such as Sachin Tendulkar will also be involved in the Afro-Asia Cup, a series of three one-day internationals to be played between mixed teams in Bangalore and Chennai from June 6-10.

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, who heads the International Cricket Council's influential cricket committee, slammed the taxing schedule.

"India has a lot of cricket ahead, some of it quite unnecessary, but now that a commitment has been made, the players will have to go through with it," said Gavaskar.

"There is no doubt that only the very fittest will survive at the end of the Asia Cup (to be played in Pakistan next April)."

"More importantly, it is crucial that the international players are available to play domestic cricket so that it gets enhanced and brings forth new talent for the Indian team."

India's schedule from mid-June to April, 2008 includes tours of Ireland, England, South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, besides home series against Australia, Pakistan and South Africa.


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