The first T20I between South Africa and India – one of only six matches in the format for each side before next year’s T20 World Cup – was called off without even the toss taking place in Durban. Steady drizzle through the day meant that a capacity crowd was denied any action as the fixture was abandoned an hour and 54 minutes after it was due to start, at 4pm local time.
The washout was particularly disappointing for Kingsmead, which has no other international fixtures this summer and is celebrating its centenary this year. This was also due to be veteran groundsman Wilson Ngobese’s last international pitch, as he will retire at the end of the season. Kingsmead will still host domestic matches, including a first-class match between the Dolphins and Lions which starts next Thursday, and SA20 fixtures early next year.
For the teams, the inability to get any game time will scupper some of their plans to give players game time in a limited international schedule. South Africa will now have Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen available only for the second match before they are released to prepare for the Tests and will field a second-string pace attack in the third match. Their only other fixtures before the T20 World Cup are immediately before the tournament, against West Indies, where they will travel with their World Cup squad. India play three matches against Afghanistan in January, where they will still be able to tinker with their combinations.
The second and third matches in the series take place on Tuesday and Thursday in Gqeberha and Johannesburg respectively, with rain forecast at St. George’s Park on Tuesday afternoon and cloudy skies over the Wanderers through the week.