OST Sports Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 25:
With no signs of the rains abating in the next few hours, Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) has all but thrown in the towel and is now preparing to refund money to fans who braved incessant rains to buy tickets for the fifth ODI between India and Australia, scheduled to be played at the Barabati stadium tomorrow.
“We deeply regret to mention that the sunny weather, which we expected today, has failed to come true. The ground is completely waterlogged and the chances of it drying up are extremely remote. The pitch, however, is safe but the outfield may cause harm to fielders,” OCA secretary Asirbad Behera said in a statement today.
Though Behera said that the final decision on holding the match would be taken by the umpires after they inspect the ground on Saturday afternoon, it was clear that OCA had given up on the match and is now busy preparing for the refund.
“In this scenario, if the match is called off, we intend to refund the money to the ticket holders from November 8-15 between 10 am to 5 pm at the three ticket counters of the Barabati Stadium,” he said.
Those who purchased online would get the refunds directly remitted to their respective accounts, Behera said.
The unrelenting showers, because of a deep depression in the Telengana region, had also dampened OCA’s plan of drying up the field using choppers.
“The operators of helicopters visited the ground and said that they could only dry the pitch, but would not be able to remove the mud which has accumulated throughout the playing arena,” Behera said.
The scheduled start is 1.30 pm, while the gates would be open at 8.30 am.