Ranji Trophy: Day two of J&K-Karnataka washed out; KSCA concerned

If both teams cannot complete their first innings, J&K will go through by virtue of having won more games outright in the group stages.

Jammu and Kashmir

A view of the Gandhi Memorial Science College ground in Jammu as the groundstaff look to cover the 22-yard strip.   -  R. V. Moorthy

The Gandhi Memorial Science College ground was bathed in blazing sunshine on Friday, but not a single ball was bowled. After bad light had allowed only half an hour of play on day one, Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir endured more frustration on the second day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal here. Heavy overnight rain left wet patches on the outfield, and although most of the ground had dried by lunch, the umpires were distinctly unhappy with the run-up area from one end. Play was finally called off at 4 p.m. after multiple inspections.

"We have come here for a quarterfinal and the match not happening is really frustrating," said Karnataka off-spinner K. Gowtham. "But the ground-staff are doing their best. We still have three good days left, so we are hopeful.”

Only six overs have now been bowled on the first two days of this contest. If both teams cannot complete their first innings, J & K will go through by virtue of having won more games outright in the group stages. The KSCA is concerned, and disappointed that a knock-out game was not held at a venue where such risks could have been avoided.

"We were very apprehensive about the facilities there. We were aware of the limitations. The BCCI should have taken a call. Unfortunately, for now, we are at the receiving end. Till Saturday, we tried to keep the game in Bengaluru. We told the J&K team that it will be an opportunity for their players to be seen on TV," said KSCA Secretary Santosh Menon.

Read: Irfan Pathan on life in J&K and the team's turnaround

The JKCA was understandably not keen on giving up the chance to host such a high-profile fixture. The association had only three days to prepare for this game, and JKCA staff have toiled hard to put on a show, but the fact that not a single ball was bowled on day two despite bright sunshine raises serious questions. Water seeped in under the covers, and the teams could do nothing but wait.

"The infrastructure we have is temporary. We have limited equipment here. We are doing our best with that. We had started a tendering process for more ground machinery but that got delayed because of the blockade," said a JKCA official.

BCCI General Manager (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim said: "Barring the venues which host international matches, most others don't have a structured drainage system, yet we conduct first-class matches at those venues without any issue."

The forecast for the next three days is good but the onus is now on Karnataka to drive the game forward. The KSCA is understandably unhappy with the regulations, which equate results in Group C with those in the top tier. Further, teams in Group C play nine matches in the group stages, as opposed to the eight that those in Groups A and B do.

"We had raised this issue with the BCCI during the Vijay Hazare Trophy,” said Menon. "We had written to the BCCI that this is a vague rule. Because, any team can face the situation that we are in now."

But all the Karnataka team can do now is hope there are no further interruptions.

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