Kotla to keep its cool as mercury plummets

As the capital experienced its coldest day in over four decades on Tuesday, officials of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) have put in place a contingency plan to fight the elements during the third and final India-Pakistan ODI on Sunday.

It includes the novel method of attaching carpets to lawn mowers and plying them during breaks and when a wicket falls to soak up the dew on the outfield.

DDCA vice-president and former India Test opener Chetan Chauhan said that the last time he experienced such harsh weather during a cricket match in India was when the hosts played England in the December of 1972. "Usually at this time of the year, between late December and early January, international games, including Tests, have rarely been held in Delhi. The last time I experienced such low temperatures during an international game was during the 1972 Test against England. I was the 12th man in that game," Chauhan said.

The former Test opener said that dew and the dipping mercury will have an impact on Sunday's ODI. "The challenge for us will be to try and reduce the dew factor post 5 pm. Knowing how the temperature dips at this time of the year in Delhi, dew could be a factor but we are geared up."

The groundsmen at the venue have been divided into four teams, each of which will be in charge of a supersopper. "We have been permitted to use the supersoppers not only during drinks breaks but also whenever a wicket falls. There will be four supersoppers that will be used to cover the entire outfield. The groundsmen have been briefed about the task at hand keeping in mind the prevailing weather," Chauhan added.

As for attaching carpets to lawn mower machines, the former opener said that 'local knowledge' indicates that it is an effective methods to soak up moisture. The main wickets have also been given an additional layer of protection with blankets, in addition to the regular covers, to prevent moisture from seeping into the tracks.

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