The soggy outfield at National Stadium, Karachi forced a dreary first ODI abandonment and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) alongside the government received a lot of criticism for not having adequate drainage facilities.
Poor drainage after a downpour not only spoils the party for fans but also leads to heavy losses for cricket boards in the form of broadcasting earnings and ticket sales. Many famous venues among full members have adopted an efficient underground drainage system to combat waterlogged outfields. Sufficient porosity in soil and a fleet of super soppers can help avoid sorry sight washouts.
The ground where Inzamam-ul-Haq scored a century in his 100th Test has recently been equipped with subsurface aeration and vacuum-powered drainage facilities. It takes barely a few minutes to remove rainwater with the help of a remotely controlled system which is quite common in golf courses. SubAir company fitted infrastructure allows water to seep in 36 times faster than natural infiltration and almost 10,000 liters of water per minute can be pumped out.
MCG evokes good memories for Pakistanis because this is the venue where the Imran Khan-led team won the 1992 World Cup. The iconic venue can accommodate almost 100,000 spectators and features a flawless drainage system. In 2017 during a Sheffield Shield match after 70mm of heavy rain, the ground was ready for play within 48 hours.
About the playing conditions in Australia, Michael Clarke said: "Australia has some of the best facilities in the world, the outfields are pristine with great drainage, and the climate allows for curators to produce first-class batting wickets."
More than 70mm of rain at the ‘G in the last 48 hours, but we are set to go for #VicvWA. Kudos to the ground staff and a great drainage system! WA has won the toss and will bat. #SheffieldShield pic.twitter.com/E2wBnDe3aW— Melbourne Cricket Ground (@MCG) December 2, 2017
Another popular and historic venue that has hosted many memorable encounters boasts a brilliant architecture. Trent Bridge underwent a major overhaul in 2008 and as a result, inclement weather conditions do not cause indefinite delays as the hover-crafted pitch cover and superb drainage facilities help a quick restart. The top layer of sand contributes to fast seepage.
The proverbial 'home of cricket' is known to possess one of the best drainage systems. The sandy soil enables water to infiltrate in the large air spaces. The Lord's ground has numerous hover covers to battle the incessant rains. Many grounds in England have been upgraded with better drainage facilities in the last decade. An advanced drainage and irrigation system was put in place at the stadium to avoid prolonged delays in matches. In 2007, during the first Test between England and India, a three-hour relentless rain show meant there was a bleak chance of quick resumption but within 120 minutes, the match was live again courtesy of the expertise of groundsmen and a well-planned underground design at Lord's.
Lord's Cricket Ground ©Getty Images
One doesn't ascribe lengthy rain interruptions with the Arabian Peninsula but an unexpected long spell of rainfall caused a delayed start on the third day of the second Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand in 2018 that took fans by surprise. What followed was even more startling as the swift action from groundsmen with the assistance of the immaculate underground drainage facilities allowed players to get back on the field within 30 minutes after the shower. “The stadium was designed by German architects and the underground drainage system had been laid out with a lot of care. There are ducts underground to soak in the water after seven meters,” Salman Hanif, head of Stadium and Events told gulfnews.
Dubai International Stadium ©AFP
Unpredictable weather patterns, for example, erratic rainfall are becoming a norm around many regions of the world as we face a climate crisis. It is the right time for cricket boards to invest in better drainage facilities to avoid loss of fixtures.