Bhubaneswar, Oct 24:
Exuding confidence about conducting the fifth ODI between India and Australia in Cuttack on Saturday despite heavy rains, Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) today said it was planning to use a chopper to dry the outfield of the Barabati Stadium.
“Yes, it is raining heavy across the state since four days. But we hope the weather will change from tomorrow. Our pitches are intact and well covered. OCA is planning to hire a chopper from Kendrapara MP BJ Panda to dry the outfield which has soaked rain water,” OCA secretary Asirbad Behera told reporters here.
As the players of both the teams arrived here this afternoon and cricket fans wait to see the India team in action, Behera said the OCA has already sought requisite permission from the police to use the chopper for drying the outfield at Barabati Stadium.
Behera and others in OCA were optimistic that rain will stop from tonight. However, the director of local MET department, Sarat Sahu said: “We expect that rain will continue till October 27. There may be less rainfall fromtomorrow.”
OCA functionaries, however, hastened to add that the OCA was “still hopeful” of hosting the match successfully as per schedule and has been taking all necessary steps on war footing for the match.
Meanwhile, OCA authorities are leaving no stone unturned to keep the ground match fit for Saturday. In an innovative way, the organisers are draining out water from the outfield by digging four wells around the ground.
Efforts were also on to keep the pitch dry by providing a three layer cover. Though some rainwater gushed into the pitch, the ground staff removed the water by using sponge.
“If the rains spare us at least for a single day on Friday, we will get the ground match fit on Saturday,” said Naba Ranjan Patnaik, an OCA functionary.
The ODI series against Australia is significant for the cricket fans as the visiting team has an upperhand with a 2-1 lead.
The fourth ODI in Ranchi yesterday was washed out shortly into the second innings with India on 27 for no loss in reply to Australia`s 295.
The inclement weather has not deterred cricket-lovers from buying tickets in Cuttack. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000 and already 42,000 seats have been booked, an OCA officials said. (PTI)