Tropical cyclones commonly form over the Bay of Bengal in the months of April-May, and again in October-November. Keeping this in view, May was not a very appropriate month for organizing the Bangladesh-India ODI series of 2007. It was no surprise then that a cyclonic storm named Akash (meaning the sky) did develop over the Bay of Bengal on 14 May, and crossed the Bangladesh coast near its southern tip on the morning of 15 May, just when the third ODI was about to begin at Chittagong. Thankfully, Akash was a cyclone of marginal intensity which weakened further while crossing the coast, and only some of its remnants moved further into north-east India.

Bangladesh had been put on cyclone alert on 14 May, and it was already raining heavily over Chittagong. The Bir Shreshtha Shaheed Ruhul Amin Stadium, where the ODI was to be played, was full of puddles that prevented any match practice. Although it was not raining on 15 May, the match could not make its scheduled start, as while the pitch was itself in good condition, the outfield had been damaged enough by the previous day’s rains. The situation at the stadium in fact improved in the afternoon, which created some hopes of having a truncated 20-over match, but the soggy ground refused to dry, and the match was ultimately abandoned.

India had already won the first two matches, and so won the series. As the cyclone weakened and moved further away from Chittagong, there was a clear blue sky over the stadium at the time of the match presentation ceremony.

The cyclone came in its season, it followed its normal course. Still, can we ‘blame it on the rain’?