Heavy rainfall over the last three days caused a rare occasion in the hockey arena as persistent rain in Dhaka forced yet another Hero Asia Cup 2017 match to be postponed Saturday.
The Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium, the only hockey venue in Bangladesh that hosts international tournaments, had never previously seen a senior international hockey match get postponed due to rain before.
The postponement of two Asia Cup matches in the space of as many days, including Saturday's Super Four game between South Korea and Malaysia scheduled for a 3pm start, occurred due to a land depression formed in the Bay of Bengal which caused torrential rain in the capital.
Like the previous days, parts of the match-venue were filled with water and the gate to the entrance of the venue also went under water. Following a break respite from rain in the afternoon, the India-Pakistan game was pushed back by one-and-a-half-hours. South Korea and Malaysia's match was then rescheduled to 9:30pm.
The unplayable situation of the hockey pitch caused by heavy rainfall is a rare scenario in the hockey arena. According to former hockey star and Bangladesh Hockey Federation vice president Khwaja Rahmatullah, veteran organiser Yusuf Ali and experienced coach Kauser Ali, rain never forced the postponement of an international match in Bangladesh before.
"It never happened before, that an international game got postponed due to rain. Sometimes it happens in domestic fixtures but it only delays the game for some time. The pitch requires sufficient water. The absence of water and the sudden flow of water due to heavy rain caused the pitch to be unplayable,” said Rahmatullah Friday.
Among three main types of synthetic hockey turf, Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium is situated at Paltan maidan and is chiefly a water-based turf. The turf requires watering before, during and after every game to keep the pitch wet and to avoid it from wear and tear. Rahmatullah also informed that it usually takes around half-an-hour for the accumulated water to drain away and for the pitch to get ready for the match.
There was also rain Thursday but it didn’t hamper any game. The first half of Bangladesh’s win over China and three quarters of Bangladesh-Japan's fifth place deciding game were played amid rain.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Tayyab Ikram, the CEO of Asian Hockey Federation, announced Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium as a fully recognised international venue and pledged to honour Dhaka with more high-profile international tournaments in future.