Neha Jain and Ayan Acharya
The sight of players spending rainy days in the dug-out, instead of playing cricket out in the middle, is too well-known to cricket fans. But in a rather frustrating turn of events, two test matches last month in Durban and in Port of Spain were “washed out”, despite the grounds being bathed in sunshine. The irony could not be more overwhelming.
To assuage such a situation, the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) is on its way to complete the installation of SubAir system technology at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. It is a vacuum-powered aeration and drainage system which allows the outfield to dry quickly.
Mr. Brijesh Patel, Secretary of KSCA said: “It is the first cricket stadium in the world to have a system like this. It is a sand-based system, similar to rain-water harvesting. There are perforated pipes underneath which suck the water immediately during rains. Hopefully, it would not take long after the rain stops, to resume the game.’’
After successful implementation of the system among other sports like golf, baseball, soccer and rugby, KSCA contracted Great Sports Infra, a Hyderabad-based company with sole rights of SubAir System for cricket worldwide, for this project.
Mr. Eugene George, Operations Manager at Great Sports Infra, said: “This system is very efficient in other sports and as per the specifications of this project, it is going to work wonders. It is a computerized system, and there are sensors all around and even the heaviest rainfall in Bangalore, which is 12 cm, can be tackled, and the game can start within 10-15 minutes after the rain stops.”
An official at KSCA, explaining the system, said: “We are bringing our system as per the USGA standard. It is a vertical drainage system with an embedded network of perforated pipes for aeration and drainage pipes in a closed-loop system below the soil. The aeration pumps directly supply the air to the roots.”
He added: “The perforated pipes are in place continuously for supplying the air to the roots while retaining the moisture. There are pipes of three different diameters. The higher diameter pipe runs through a peripheral off the ground, the 400-mm-diameter pipes are the radial ones connected to the peripheral, and the 150-mm pipes are the lateral ones connected throughout for perforation. The rain water coming from the filter media will be collected and sent outside the stadium.”
Although the Installation is set to be completed within the next 40 days, international cricket at the stadium is expected to resume only in February next.
KSCA had previously pioneered the initiative of having an in-house solar roof top, making the stadium the world’s first solar-powered cricket venue. At the stadium, above the eastern stands, photovoltaic cells are placed to generate solar power. On an average, the solar panels generate 1700 to 1800 Kilowatt of power every day.
Speaking about KSCA’s novel initiative, Mr. Brijesh Patel said: “Here we were able to generate six lakh units of power last year, and 3000 tonnes of carbon emission has been reduced.”
At the stadium a dedicated space called the ‘SCADA’ is visible where one can monitor the performance of power generation using solar technology. The entire system is powered by the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company under the Net Metering policy by which KSCA pays for only the power generated and the power consumed.
KSCA saved 40% of their electricity bill last year, sources at the stadium confirmed.
With plans to set up a 600-KW solar panel above the western stand already in the pipeline, Bengaluru’s very own Chinnaswamy stadium, is proving to be a venue beyond cricket and leading the world to follow in its steps.