Chennai Test as scheduled despite Cyclone Vardah

"We should be ready to host the match in a day's time. There are some damages on the roads leading to the stadium but it will be cleared soon. The pitch is in perfect condition and the match will go on if there are no further rains," said Kasi Viswanathan, the TNCA Secretary.

Cyclone Vardah has toppled the sight-screen, but the pitch is covered and is in perfect condition at the Chepauk Stadium.   -  K. Pichumani

The chairs in the D-Block have been displaced but the authorities are confident of getting them ready for the Test match.   -  K. Pichumani

The fifth and final Test between India and England set to begin at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium here on December 16 will go on as scheduled despite Cyclone Vardah battering the city on Monday, confirmed the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary, Kasi Viswanathan.

>Read: Indian team arrives in Chennai

"We should be ready to host the match in a day's time. There are some damages on the roads leading to the stadium but it will be cleared soon. The pitch is in perfect condition and the match will go on if there are no further rains," he said.

Barring the sight-screen which has fallen and the chairs in D-Block that have been displaced, everything in the stadium is in perfect condition to host the Test match.

The truss-work on top of the stadium was not affected by the cyclone.

Since the practice pitches are not yet ready, both India and England will not have nets on Wednesday. "Both teams have been informed about this and they have agreed,” said Viswanathan.

Practice on Thursday, the eve of the Test, is also doubtful. The pitches at MAC ‘B’, the principal designated area for 'nets’, need plenty of cleaning up. The Ram Singh Gate at Bells Road has been damaged by the strong winds and rain.However, to the immense relief of the TNCA, the surface for the match, bound by ropes and poles, has not been affected. In fact, the pitch is dry. And the outfield, although wet in certain areas, was not soggy. "The drainage system here is excellent,” said Viswanathan. The super soppers will be busy too.

The TNCA secretary added: “There is a lot of work to be done, but we are taking it up on a war footing. We are confident the match will start on time.”

Indeed, many were on the job inside the stadium. Due to the powerful gusts, the fixtures holding the floodlights have become loose. Technicians were perched on top fixing the lights. "This is not a day/night match but there could be occasions in the game, if the light fades, the floodlights may have to be switched on. We have to be ready,” said Viswanathan.

There are other issues too. Some of the air conditioning units have been dented. And several glass panes have been shattered. The TNCA, however, is confident that by Wednesday evening, most of these problems would have been fixed.

The roof on the ‘K’ stand has been damaged by the cyclone. But since the ‘I, J and K’ enclosures will not be used for the game — they have not yet received the necessary clearances — the TNCA is not unduly concerned about the ‘torn’ roof-top.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Vardah, the communication lines were largely down. Viswanathan noted, “This is an area we need to focus on but we have the belief that this will be sorted out before the Test.”

Meanwhile, both the Indian and England teams were in good spirits as they checked into a local hotel.

The series might have been decided in India’s favour but the match here could be well contested. After all, the Tests at Chepauk have been rather special over the years.