16 June 2019
Bhubaneswar: Cricket is dubbed as a religion in the sub-continent and for India the game holds a lot more gravity. From gully cricket to an international match, expectations of the fans skyrocket for their favoured side. With so much at stake, when the World Cup season arrives, it is a festival time for Indian cricket fans.
However, the ongoing World Cup 2019 at England and Wales has proven to be a dampener. Rain god has spelt doom on the World Cup this time. Out of the 19 matches held so far, three crucial matches were abandoned without a single ball being bowled, one game ended with the DLS rule and one without result.
Team India supporters were fiercely disappointed after the match with New Zealand at Trent Bridge was cancelled on Thursday. The ‘Men in Blue’ and the Kiwis bagged one point each taking their tally to five and seven points respectively.
Same was the fate of the match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which was scheduled held on June 11 (Tuesday). This tie at Bristol was called off without a ball being bowled due to constant drizzle and wet outfield.
Only 7.3 overs could be bowled in the 15th tie of the tournament between South Africa and West Indies held at Southampton on June 10 (Monday).
The rain scare also mounted on the match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at Manchester. The venue witnessed heavy downpour on Saturday leaving a damp outfield. To the fans’ cheer, the pitch could be saved and the match began on time on Sunday.
This time there are no reserve days for the group matches, which has invited a lot of criticism. The reserve days are on schedule, only for the semi-finals and the final. While the ongoing scheme of things have dispirited the fans, the world cricketing regulator ICC seems to be helpless.
Outgoing ICC chief executive David Richardson said scheduling back-ups for every game would be too difficult and added that it was not reasonable to put plans in place for "extremely unseasonable weather" at the time of year.
The south east of England saw just two millimetres of rain in June 2018, but 100 mm fell in 24 hours this week, he said. "Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the Cricket World Cup would significantly increase the length of the tournament and, practically, would be extremely complex to deliver," Richardson said.
"It would impact pitch preparation, team recovery and travel days, accommodation and venue availability, tournament staffing, volunteer and match officials availability, broadcast logistics and very importantly the spectators who in some instances have travelled hours to be at the game – and there is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either."
All said and done, connoisseurs of cricket are never happy if the points table of a tournament is dictated by the weather, which is exactly what has happened during World Cup 2019. Deserving teams are down the table, as some of the matches have been washed out. The millions of fans of the gentleman’s game have their fingers crossed and are only praying for no more rain during the upcoming matches.