Amidst the country's worst drought, South Africa trying to provide pace for the pitches

Amidst the country’s worst drought, South Africa trying to provide pace for the pitches

The country, however, witnessed rain, although the showers were timed at just two minutes.

The greenish practice wickets
The practice wickets at the Western Province Cricket Club in Cape Town. (Photo Source: Xtra Time)

While everyone’s been busy talking about India’s upcoming tour of South Africa, we failed to acknowledge the fact that the rainbow nation is enduring its worst drought in more than a hundred years. The country, however, witnessed rain, although the showers were timed at just two minutes. December 31 was a rare day when that happened.

Situations have been worse. Toilet flushing has been reduced to only if absolutely necessary, and people have been asked not to use more than 87 liters of water each per day. But for the people of the Western Cape, the province of South Africa, the drops were welcomed like small mercies.

It’s in these circumstances that India’s tour of South Africa begins, and the nation hopes to be able to present the visitors with a pitch that has pace, bounce and also offers seam movement. And the only way that can happen is with the sufficient water.

Newlands groundsman speak about ongoing preparation

The first Test between the No.1 and 2 ranked teams is slated to kick off on January 5, at the Newlands stadium. Luckily, Newlands has borehole-water supply but groundsman Evan Flint told ESPNcricinfo it has still been a tricky preparatory period.

“With the pitch, we’ve been able to carry on watering it as usual every day with borehole water. But the outfield, we’ve only watered it twice a week so it’s a little bit drier and maybe not as lush as we would like it.”

He added, “The challenge is that we need to leave live grass on the wicket, thin grass, so that there is pace, but we want to make sure the ball doesn’t grip and turn. Ideally, what we need is a little bit of rain in the morning and then sun in the afternoon and I don’t know how many days we will get that for.”