Sunny skies weren't enough to dry out a rain-soaked Nairobi Gymkhana ground yesterday after heavy overnight rain rendered the pitch unplayable for a second successive day and forced umpires to declare Bermuda's Intercontinental Cup clash againsts hosts Kenya a draw.
The decision, made with the full blessing of both team skippers, came immediately after lunch on the fourth and final day of a match in which seven of the scheduled 12 sessions were lost to the frequent and predictable showers which drench these parts of Kenya in what is known as the ‘short' rainy season.
While the result meant little, both sides having learned midway through this match that due to a change in ICC rules neither could qualify for next year's cup final, for Bermuda in particular, the loss of so much playing time added to their frustration. On realising that no play would be possible yesterday, coach Gus Logie hastily arranged an afternoon training session but admitted he would have preferred his batsmen to have spent more time in the middle during the second innings.
'We would have much preferred to have gone out today and batted, but these are the conditions and we just have to move on,' said Logie, who early this morning will travel with team to the coastal town of Mombasa where three one-day games are scheduled against the Kenyans on Saturday, Sunday and next Tuesday.
'As I said yesterday, I think we did well to come back into the match. So today would have been a good opportunity to see if we could improve on our first innings, knowing our opposition and knowing what they had to offer.
'We had a good day yesterday, sitting and watching tapes of their guys bowling to us. We have a good indication of what we're up against, so hopefully in the one-day games we'll put what we know into practice.' Logie conceded that having come into the game with little match practice, he had hoped the players would have been able to play all four days.
'This (weather) doesn't help us, and I think this is where the mental strength of the players comes into play. We've been talking about it. Mentally, players have to adapt, they have to adjust, they have to dig a little deeper.
'In the games coming up they have to exercise patience, they have to concentrate, making the right choices in shot selection. We have enough experience in this side, so I'm quite confident we'll perform a lot better in the one-day games.' But the coach agreed there remained some concern over Bermuda's habit of digging themselves into a hole early into big matches. With the first game of a tournament we always seem to be behind the eight ball. You have to look to get in front and stay in front. It all comes back to preparation before these tournaments. Before going it's not ideal to just have a few practice sessions.
'We need to have match situations, the guys need to play a few games before they get into competitions like these. We come on tour and from the start we're trying to find our match form, it's not ideal. I think it's something I've got to learn to live with and learn to adjust to.' Kenya, too, claimed they badly needed the match practice but there were no complaints from their players or management once yesterday's decision was taken.
Umpires Tony Hill from New Zealand and Buddhi Pradhan from Nepal made pitch inspections early in the morning, at 10 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., but while there was no more rain, such was the condition of the outfield, even after groundstaff had removed surface water, the field was deemed too dangerous.
'We made our decision in full consultation with the teams,' said Hill. 'With the one-day games coming up I don't think anyone wanted to risk injury. On that surface it would have been very easy for a player to slip and hurt themselves. We haven't had any more rain but the ground just isn't drying out quickly enough, and that's despite the fact that the staff here have been working hard all morning. There's nothing more they could have done.'