Cold Mohali to assist pacers

Snow and rain impact ground preparations too ahead of the fourth ODI between India, England.

Mohali's PCA Stadium (file picture)

New Delhi: The prevailing extreme cold conditions in north India may affect the fourth India-England One-day International in Mohali on Wednesday with the nearby Shivalik and other ranges currently covered with snow.

The cold weather has affected the growth of grass in the outfield and on the pitch square. Due to the adverse conditions the ground is looking brownish, which is starkly different from the traditional lush green outfield at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium, said a top official.

"Since it’s been snowing on the hills near Mohali, it has impacted this city too. It rained here day before and that has left moisture on the ground.

We need bright sunshine to dry up the ground,” PCA joint secretary GS Walia told MAIL TODAY . "Due to cold conditions, pacers are expected to exploit the conditions that will help them move the ball appreciably. Since it is a daynight encounter, batsmen would find it difficult to cope with swinging deliveries especially in the second innings, which would be played in the evening when the temperature drops further,” points out another PCA official.

"It has been snowing on the Shivalik and other hills, which are close to Mohali, in the last few days and that has hampered the pitch and ground preparation.

Although the sun came out today at around 11 am, it was very weak.

We need strong sunshine to dry up the pitch and ground livelier,” a member of ground staff told Mail Today from Mohali. "The heavy weather also affected the Delhi ODI against Pakistan, who failed to overhaul even 167 due to the cold conditions.”

In that match, the highest individual score was 39, made by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. Pacers Ishant Sharma, Shami Ahmed and Bhuvneshwar Kumar swung India’s way after the batsmen flopped.

Mohali, it could be worse for batsmen.

Although Mohali is Punjab, its proximity with Himachal Pradesh hills directly affects weather.

Himachal capital Shimla, which is about 140 kms from Mohali, on Sunday recorded a minimum of zero degree Celsius temperature.

Some other areas like Solan, Bhuntar, Sundernagar and Saluni, which have been experiencing a similar weather, have also impeded ground staff’s work.

When it snows anywhere around Mohali, even if that happens 150-odd kms away, it affects this city. And the same has happened this time, affecting the growth of grass as this is undergoing a dormancy period,” explained the member of the ground staff.

"We had sown the normal grass in the outfield and a Bermuda variety on the pitch square. But, about 10 weeks ago, we sowed Ryegrass to cover the patches on the 'square’, barring the pitch earmarked for the match,” he said.

Mohali will host its second successive ODI against England.

India won the previous game in October 2011. India lead the current five-match series 2-1.