Dolphins CEO assures changes to avoid Kingsmead washout repeat in the future

Kingsmead Cricket Ground South Africa
The 1st Test between SA and NZ was washed out due to a soggy outfield which has since been deemed poor by the ICC

Rajesh Behari, the acting CEO of the Dolphins franchise that manages the Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban, has assured that there will be no repeat of the farcical washout of the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand earlier this month, claiming that changes have been implemented already to get the ground in top condition for the remainder of the cricket season.

Despite the absence of rain for much of the days, the series opener saw 11 of the 15 sessions being lost to weather as a soggy outfield meant the officials deemed it unsafe for play. The sorry condition of what is one of the most famous cricket venues in South Africa angered the fans, who has since been reimbursed of the ticket costs, with the prospect of an ICC sanction also looming large as the outfield was rated ‘poor’ by match referee Andy Pycroft.

Behari is, however, confident that such a scenario won’t be repeated in the future.

"We are already hard at work taking measures to ensure that the condition of the outfield does not impact on both international and domestic fixtures in the future," Behari said in a statement, referring to the work done by the groundsmen of filling the exposed patches in the outfield with top soil as well as using fertilisers to prompt the quick growth of grass.

Behari indicated that his hands were tied as the on-field umpires for the first Test – Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth – had asked the ground staff not to use any artificial means of drying the surface.

"(The ground staff) had done everything in their power to deal with the problems with the softened outfield, but that their role was limited in scope by the match officials in charge of the Test once the wet outfield complications developed,” Behari said.

He is confident that recent events won’t undermine Kingsmead’s status and is already looking forward to the return of international cricket at the venue.

"We benchmark this stadium by the very best in the world and are determined to ensure that each and every match and Test matches in particular are memorable at this venue," Behari said.

"The only ground to have hosted more Test matches in South Africa is Newlands and our rich Test cricket heritage here at is something that we guard unwaveringly. Summer rains are a reality in Durban and we want to make sure that this ground, which has a good reputation for drainage and dealing with rain delays, will be in top condition for the upcoming domestic fixtures as well as the two internationals against Australia and Sri Lanka."

Edited by Staff Editor
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