Tigers in Rajkot with threat of cyclone

Bangladesh players train at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Tuesday morning under what looks like clear skies, however, the weather is likely to change for the worse as Cyclone Maha is expected to make landfall in Gujarat on Wednesday. Photo: BCB

Rains triggered by an impending cyclone emanating the Arabian Sea could play spoilsport during the second T20I match between Bangladesh and India in the central Gujarat city of Rajkot on Thursday.

Bangladesh lead the three-match series 1-0 after having emphatically won the Delhi tie by seven wickets. The final match is scheduled for November 10 in Nagpur. 

After playing the opening match in Delhi in the midst of air pollution-induced health emergency, the two teams reached Rajkot on Monday even as cyclone “Maha” raced towards the coast of Gujarat and is expected to make a landfall on Wednesday before starting to weaken.

Rains and an overcast sky greeted the two teams when they reached Rajkot, which is 100km from the sea coast, on Monday morning, not allowing any outdoor training and confining them to their hotels.  

“There has been no rain so far today but the sky is overcast,” a journalist in Rajkot over phone adding the two teams may venture out for training if there is no rain.

The Indian Met Department informed a high-level review meeting in Delhi on Monday that the cyclone was moving west and north westwards and is likely to intensify further till the morning of November 5 and “will thereafter weaken and cross the Gujarat and Maharashtra coast by midnight of November 6 and early morning of November 7, “ an official statement said.

“Heavy rainfall, accompanied by winds reaching up to 90 to 100 kmph and tidal waves up to 1.5meter, are expected” under the impact of the cyclone, it added.

Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Maharashtra informed the meeting that necessary preparations have been made by them disaster response teams, along with Coast Guard and naval ships, have already been positioned.

The concerned district authorities have been put on alert and all fishing activities have been suspended.

Cricket fans in Rajkot are keeping their fingers crossed about the possibility of rains on November 6.

“There will be widespread rainfall in the state when the cyclone makes landfall. Coastal areas of the state like Amreli, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Botad, Surat, Vadodara will be affected and “heavy” to “very heavy rainfall” will occur at isolated places,” Jayanto Sarkar, director of Meteorological Centre, Ahmedabad, told reporters on Monday.

Jaydev Shah, head of the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), said all precautions have been to taken to ensure the match takes place.

"We have covered the ground to make sure the match can start on time in case the rain does disrupt,” he said.