The second ODI between Indian and Australia scheduled on Wednesday could face interruptions due to rains as clouds loom over the skies of the 'City of Joy'. A cyclonic circulation over the Bay of Bengal has increased the chances of a second rain-hit game of the India-Australia One-Day International series.
Heavy seasonal rains lashed Kolkata early on Tuesday (September 19) morning, forcing groundsmen to completely cover the Eden Gardens playing area. Work underway on the pitch thus had to be stopped in the face of persistent rain.
The local meterological department has forecast more rain to hit the city in the next 24 hours, with intermittent rain predicted on Thursday evening. "By September 21 (match day), the circulation will be gone but in this month rain is a possibility especially in the evening. It may not however continue for too long," Kolkata Met Director Ganesh Das said.
The Monday shower will once again put to Test the Eden Gardens' drainage facilities. In October 2015, an India-South Africa T20I at the venue was abandoned despite the rains relenting a full two and half hours before scheduled start of play. The Cricket Association of Bengal, under president Sourav Ganguly, has since used the 'hover cover' to shield the complete playing surface during rain.
Coring, a process to alter the sand-clay ration, has reduced the once high water-retention capacity of the outfield. The changes allowed the possibility of a 18-overs-a-side contest between India and Pakistan at last year's World T20 despite a heavy downpour in the build up to the game.
However, the implications of the rain on the pitch's characteristics remain to be seen. For the World T20 clash, the pitch turned significantly more than usual given it's otherwise transformed fast and bouncy nature. The early January 2017 ODI between India and England saw appreciable seam movement for the bowlers but also saw both teams notch over 300 in a closely-contested affair.
Curator Sujan Mukherjee overcame a flu to ensure the ground was covered and the pitch protected in the manner he sought. His desire for a sporting wicket to help both batsmen and bowlers may yet be beyond even his control. "I cannot say they will make how many runs but the wicket will help both batsmen and bowlers," he said.