Cuttack had a close shave as cyclone Phailin made its landfall about 169km away, near Gopalpur. But Cuttack now bears the brunt of its after-effects. A deep depression has made life miserable for locals and has also rattled the state cricket association. Rain has fallen non-stop for the last five days.
On Friday morning, the rain had relented a bit but it returned with renewed vigour when MS Dhoni and his players arrived for practice at the Barabati Stadium. The venue is scheduled to host the fifth ODI between India and Australia on Saturday. But it seems that only a miracle can prevent a washout.
The outfield was covered in puddles, while the pitch, under covers, hadn't been tended to for the last five-six days. India had to have their nets at the Odisha Cricket Associationís (OCA) Indoor Complex, which is named after Sachin Tendulkar.
The Barabati has a capacity of 45,000, and 32,000 tickets have already been sold. Another 10,000 filled complimentary quotas. "I think the match will be called off. Match referee Roshan Mahanama will inspect the ground at 11am tomorrow before officially taking a decision. In case of an abandonment without a ball being bowled, full refund will be made to those who have bought tickets. We will open three counters at the stadium from November 1 to 15 for that," OCA secretary Ashirwad Behra said.
And according to Ravindra Jadeja, it's very unlikely that the match will take place. "Mentally we are prepared (for the match) but I don't think it is happening."
Asked why the BCCI didn't move the game to a different venue despite the bad weather, which has prevailed in Cuttack for close to a week, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary said: "I'm very busy with our Ranji match (between Mumbai and Haryana in Lahli) that starts on Sunday. So really don't have any idea about the ODI." Chaudhary is also the president of the Haryana Cricket Association. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel couldn't be contacted. The fourth ODI in Ranchi saw no result due to rain and another washout will mean that India will go into the final two matches, in Nagpur and Bangalore, under real pressure. India haven't lost an ODI series or tournament this year but are 2-1 down this series.
Jadeja differed on the pressure aspect. "We are not under pressure. We have to win the last two matches and are determined to win the