Cyclone-hit Chepauk being readied for fifth Test

The Indian team will have fielding practise at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday morning following a request from team coach Anil Kumble. The English side will conduct its fielding session from 12 noon. Since, MAC ‘B’ is not ready yet, the teams will train at the main ground.

Rain-ravaged Chepauk is slowly limping back to normalcy. Thursday could see some action, with the players scheduled to practise there.   -  K. Pichumani

The Indian team will have fielding practise at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday morning following a request from team coach Anil Kumble.

The English side will conduct its fielding session from 12 noon. Since, MAC ‘B’ is not ready yet, the teams will train at the main ground.

TNCA president N. Srinivasan visited the arena in the evening and was pleased with the work done at the stadium and on the pitch.

He told Sportstar, “The ground-staff has done a wonderful job. I am proud of the kind of work that has gone in to get the ground and the stadium ready following the cyclone.”

Innovative heating techniques such as using burning coal were employed to dry the surface. Srinivasan walked up to the tireless ground-staff, often the unsung lot, and congratulated them.

In the morning, Kumble and all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin visited the stadium. The Indian coach was pleased with the condition of the ground, said TNCA secretary K. S. Viswanathan.

He revealed that the replay screens would not display messages from fans during the match or the breaks. “Some of the messages were not complimentary to the England team. The BCCI also conveyed this to us,” said Viswanathan.

Meanwhile, English paceman Stuart Broad, who missed the third and the fourth Tests because of fitness issues, bowled at the nets in the IIT-Chemplast ground.

“Since he was informed that the practise wickets at Chepauk were not ready, Broad came here to bowl. We got a pitch ready for him. Broad was happy with the track,” said Bharat Reddy, executive vice-president, Chemplast-Sanmar, to Sportstar.

Meanwhile, two of the four floodlight towers are ready for use. The other two are expected to be repaired by Thursday. The Ram Singh Gate is also being fixed.

The air-conditioners are ready for use after the technicians spent time on them. The internet is now working in the stadium.

The path to the Gopalan Gate, littered with fallen trees, is being cleared.

For a large part, the teams spent a quiet day in their hotel rooms. Thursday could witness a lot more action.