Chemical help to combat dew in World Cup final
Mumbai: The evening dew has troubled many captains during the event and has forced them to opt to field first on placid wickets.
The excess moisture on the ground during the evening makes it extremely difficult for the spinners to grip the ball and makes batting much more easier as the ball skids on to the bat. World Cup organisers have mopped up grounds during the drinks intervals in day-night fixtures to get rid of the dew, which was in abundance during the Sri Lanka-New Zealand group match at the Wankhede Stadiun on March 18.
"We had seen for nearly 10 days that the dew comes around 9.30-10 pm (IST) but unfortunately that day it started around 8 pm," Sudhir Naik, the curator of the venue for Saturday`s final, said.
It had no bearing on the outcome of that match since New Zealand, batting second, were skittled inside 35 overs to hand Sri Lanka a 112-run victory. However, the organisers are not taking any such chances for the most important day of the showpiece event.
"The dew factor will be there. But for the final we are going to spray a chemical that will reduce the quantum of dew. We did not do that for the earlier match," Naik, who has been preparing wickets since 1987, said. The chemical will be sprayed on Friday and Saturday.
The wicket for the final match will have a bit of help for everybody -- be it batsmen, pacemen or spinners, the 66-year old said. "My wicket is already ready. I have already proved that my wicket has good bounce and good carry," Naik, who played three tests for India, said.
"It will be a good fight between batsmen and pace bowlers and spin bowlers. Both ways it is entertainment and I think that is the idea of a one-day game. It should be a fair contest. If you prepare a flat wicket, batsmen will just walk in and dominate. At least I don`t enjoy that cricket."
Preparing a pitch is a much easier job than handling the fiery pace bowling from West Indian Andy Roberts, feels Naik. The former test opener got out to Roberts in both innings of his last match for zero and six and it brought about a premature end to his international career. "We are covering the wickets these days so that it does not get wet due to dew. In our time, wickets used to be uncovered and there was no methods to dry the dew," Naik reminisced.
"No Super Soppers or anything. We used to start our game in the morning when there was a lot of dew. And can you imagine Andy Roberts bowling in-swingers on a wet wicket? The ball bounces and comes right on your face. It was certainly very dangerous."
While most home teams request pitches to be prepared so that it plays to their strengths, Naik said he would be unable to heed any last-minute requests from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni should India reach the final by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan in Mohali on Wednesday.
"I (usually) try to prepare wickets that will be suitable to our Indian players," he said. "But in World Cup there is no time because the second semi-final will get over on 30th night. Then only we will come to know if India is coming through.
"After that there is no time for me to make any alterations. You can`t do any changes in two days." Sri Lanka play in the other semi-final against New Zealand on Tuesday in Colombo and the curator knows it would make no sense to prepare a spinning track for the title clash.
"You can`t prepare a wicket which will suit spinners as I think Sri Lanka is 99 percent sure to come through from the other semi-final. They also have good spinners," he said. "So as a former cricketer I have the brains and I know it is better to prepare a flat wicket. India has got much better batting line-up and they have much better chances if you give them a batting wicket.
"So India can score more runs than Sri Lanka. In case India doesn`t come (through) let Pakistan and Sri Lanka play on a flat wicket. It doesn`t matter for us."