Chittagong curators disappointed after ODI washout
May 15, 2007 - 4:50:22 PM

Chittagong, May 15 - The ground staff here had waited till late Monday night to remove the covers and start pitch preparation for the third India-Bangladesh One-day International. They were a disappointed lot after the match was abandoned due to rains Tuesday.

'My entire staff and I are very disappointed. They were praying for the rains to go so that the match could take place today,' chief ground curator Shafiul Alam Belal told IANS after India clinched the three-match series 2-0.

'Even as it rained the whole of Monday, 15 ground staff waited here till 10 at night in the hope that the rain would stop and they would be able to remove the pitch covers so that it gets some fresh air,' said Belal as his staff started preparing the pitch for the first Test commencing Friday.

Ironically, the announcement of the ODI abandonment was made when it was shining brightly at the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium.

The match was abandoned because of the slushy conditions outside the 30-yard central circle.

'The ground inside the 30-yard circle was dry and fit for play. The problem was outside the circle as it was soggy because of excessive rains,' said Belal, a Level IV curator who is one step away from getting the highest Level V certificate from the International Cricket Council.

'This stadium has an excellent drainage system. But because it rained so much that parts of the ground were left soggy,' said the betel-chewing curator.

Belal's ground staff consisted of 25 men, 13 permanent and others daily wagers, who had worked relentlessly for 17 days on the pitch and outfield. On Tuesday, they looked visibly sad.

They were also disappointed because it was Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar's last ODI at home and also of coach Dave Whatmore, who is leaving the country after completing his four-year tenure.

Each member of the permanent staff gets a monthly salary of Taka Bangladeshi 3,750 -, including Taka 250 towards their medical expenses. The daily wagers get a mere Taka 150 -.

Each staff member also gets a pair of shirt and trousers, and breakfast during the match days.

'For the ongoing tour of India the Bangladesh Cricket Board - gave them a pair of blue uniform as special 'bonus'. They wear this uniform during the matches against India,' said Belal, referring to attire quite similar to that of the Indian team.

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