The unsung heroes behind Duleep Trophy SF result, despite 16 stoppages

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Racks of praise are lavished on players for their performances, but the ones who shape their destiny receive an occasional barrage of kudos, and if it comes it is their biggest incentive.

Their world seems to be bereft of hallowing, though they perform a crucial duty to keep cricket going. In every venue, the groundsmen work long hours under the sun and rain.

They prepare, and tend the speeding outfields for the batsmen to hog limelight and send the spectators into delirium, whenever their favourite batsmen smash the balls over the ropes.

Never in recent history, a match has been interrupted 16 times due to rain and bad light, and yet ended in a result. This happened at M Chinnaswamy stadium in the Duleep Trophy semi finals between South Zone and North Zone.

As many as 10 times the match was interrupted due to rain and six times due to bad light. On Day 1, 30 minutes were lost and on Day 2, 69 minutes were lost due rains and bad light. Today, over an hour’s play was lost due to rains.

Despite this, the KSCA groundsmen led by Prashanth Rao and assisted by Jacinta, spelt magic. They toiled hard – rolled pitches, ran in to cover the pitch and remove it during and after the rains. These efforts helped the game restart and run smoothly, and they do it for nothing in return.

And yes, if something goes wrong, they receive the brickbat, and one cannot forget the sacking of a Lucknow curator for preparing a shocker of a pitch for the second T20I between India and New Zealand this January.

But one curator was adjudged man of the match in another part of the globe. Chris Scott, the curator of Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, was adjudged man of the match in 2000 when his team helped the game between South Africa and New Zealand, restart and run smoothly even after two days of rain in-between.

These are the breeds who are not valued under the weight of glamour, but sniggered when the situations are bad. Time and again, the administrators have been failing them, and it is time at least to celebrate these noble humans that make the cricketing world tick.

Without any doubt, they are the guardians of the temples wherein the demons are shooed away for the cricketing demigods to showcase their talents.

Certainly, they deserve a standing ovation and a reward in every match in all levels.

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