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Rain, rain …

There is no fast-forward button for this, meaning it will have been some time before India can wish rain away.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

It was in another age, with all its attitudinal as well as cultural connotations, that cricket deemed rain part of its existential reality, probably because the weather in England was said always to have been fickle. The whimsicality continues but, as the game morphs more and more into an overwhelmingly large entrepreneurial enterprise for unprecedented financial gains, perceptions have changed just as much as reactions.

So, it was hardly a surprise when the recent washed-out Twenty20 International between India and South Africa ~ with the series ending inconclusively at 2-2 ~ provoked calls for weather-related uncertainties to be taken out of the game. We, unlike the Soviets ahead of the 1980 Olympics, cannot plan shooting cartridges from helicopters into clouds to pre-empt rainfall. Lightweight experts as well as purely superficially interested laymen advocate retractable stadium roofs, sounding very, very normal in times which probably have very few people able to say when uncovered wickets started being phased out, how sticky wickets became history and how batsmen subsequently flourished at the expense of spinners.

The imbalance thus introduced into cricket may have taken a lot off the game’s charm, but we have made adjustments impossible to go back on ~ television’s uttermost frustration in those hours when life in a variety of forms is rejuvenated as rain falls ~ implying we are obliged not to get off the commercially conscious track we have chosen for ourselves. But problems persist. If the demand is for all international cricket stadiums in the country to be equipped with roofs that can be stretched out and pulled back, as in many places across the world, compliance could be hard to wring wherever the ground does not belong to the local association of the game.

Well might Kolkata wonder how Fort William could look upon.such a proposal. Then there are facilities owned by assorted administrative authorities. And even if all of them are made to play ball and say yes, do we have the expertise for all-round maintenance? And there are those who could cite the engineering of such a flexible system, which has nowhere been a lark in the park. There is no fast-forward button for this, meaning it will have been some time before India can wish rain away.

We should perhaps go slow until all ends are tied up even if consumerist requirements call for a headlong rush because those desirous of the add-on attraction ~ television will be its biggest beneficiary ~ might not really be interested in picking up the tab. That happens to be part of the problem, never mind how much the Board of Control for Cricket in India makes from its own summer extravaganza of Twenty20 cricket.