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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Inclement weather and cricket don’t blend very well and the drainage system at the iconic Barabati Stadium in the Millenium city has often come under sharp criticism. However, courtesy Odisha Association’s (OCA) innovative ‘hover cover’, pitch and outfield of the stadium will be protected from getting wet in the rain during the T20 international match between hosts India and South Africa on June 12.

A hover cover is a specialised hovercraft used at major cricket grounds to cover and protect the cricket pitch from inclement weather, particularly showers of rain. The hover cover can be stored close to the edge of the cricket field, and when required can be moved over the pitch within minutes, and then removed easily when weather conditions improve.

“OCA has brought the special cover from London to cover the pitch and the outfield in case of rain during the course of the match,” said OCA secretary Sanjay Behera adding that the facility is only available at Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata.

Hover cover can be moved by a few people with relatively little effort, It can hover smoothly over the field of play without causing any damage. and be quickly rolled out to increase the covered area, with sheets at each end to cover the bowlers’ run ups, and at either side to protect other pitches on the square. It can also incorporate gutters and drainage pipes so the collected water may be directed way from the square and towards the drains.

“The facility will help resumption of the match quickly after the interruption due to any rainfall activities,” said Behera.

In addition to the hover cover, OCA has also ordered for a super sopper from Australia to quickly and easily pick up water and carry it away from the play area.

“We have one super sopper available at Barabati. But keeping in view of the possibility of rain, we want to take all precautions. Hence another super sopper has been ordered from Australia,” said Behera.

It is worth mentioning that, BCCI’s recent decision has paved the way for a full capacity audience at Barabati Stadium during the upcoming high-voltage international match.

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