Asia Cup 2023: Groundstaff in Colombo heroic but why they don’t use super soppers enough

by The Technical Blogs

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The groundstaff have been in focus at Colombo during the India’s matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Will rainfall in abundance, the groundstaff have worked tirelessly for the last 72 hours of IND vs PAK and IND vs SL matches.

Across the three days, rain has come bucketing down on several occasions at the R Premadasa Stadium, but the groundstaff have made sure that play was possible in the high profile matches of the tournament. One of the traits that caught notice at Colombo was that the groundstaff used super soppers sparingly and instead relied on men pulling on and pulling off the covers.

Source: KL Rahul/Instagram

This drew mixed reaction from social media. While one side lauded the staff in the ground, the other side pointed out that the Sri Lanka Cricket Board needed to be better prepared with modern technology to tackle the conditions.

The chief curator of the R Premadasa Stadium Godfrey Dabare however explained the situation and said that the stadium uses people instead of technology due to the unique local conditions.

Dabare said that super soppers move slowly and take a more time to release the water that they have absorbed. Dabare explained that instead of super soppers, Sri Lankan groundstaff – the one at Colombo have devised a carefully structured method that lets them drain out water much faster.

“We have to do that to remove the water because unlike others, we don’t use the super sopper. In case of heavy rains, it takes lot of time to soak the water and it absorbs very little water. But by doing it manually, we can save up the time,” Dabare explained to the New Indian Express.

Cover To Cover

In Colombo, the groundstaff cover the entire ground and then move the water from cover to cover into the drains that are situated outside the boundary ropes. The staff start removing the covers from the pitch, slide the water to the next sections of the covers gradually, till the water gets out of the playing area.

“We just move it from one cover to the other and since our drainage facility is good, we just need about 45 minutes to restart,” Dabare further added.

Awareness has also allowed the groundstaff to work better. Every time they feel that rain is set to come, the staff surrounds the ground from all corners and brings in the covers as quickly as possible. The were not happy with the umpires on Day 1 of the India vs Pakistan match, when the officials allowed the play for a little bit before rain got heavier.

“We have to cover it up as quickly as possible. First priority is to cover the square and from there on we take about 20-25 minutes to get the whole ground covered. And whenever the rain gets light, we take time to take the water out and put it back or else it will get heavy,” Dabare said.

The New Indian Express reported that the groundstaff are paid 500 INR for the day’s work, and 50 rupees more for every hour they spend beyond their day.

Edited By:

Kingshuk Kusari

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023



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