World Cup 2019: Rain is proving to be the villain of the tournament

  • A look at the weather problems that have plagued the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Modified 14 Jun 2019, 10:59 IST

Pakistan v Sri Lanka - When this much water comes out of the field, you might as well go home
Pakistan v Sri Lanka - When this much water comes out of the field, you might as well go home

Take a look at the major sports in the world: football, hockey, rugby, golf, track & field. When water falls from the sky, you can still manage and continue playing these sports. Although it may get more challenging and slippery, you can still kick the ball, pass the ball, slap the ball, or keep running.

Now, let's shift our focus to cricket. The slightest drizzle leaves umpires and players hurrying off the field. Groundsmen rush onto the green expanses, dragging rolls of covers behind them. The mood is inevitably spoiled.

Spectators travel a long way to get to the stadium for the games, hoping that it will be worth every penny they spend. People just want to have some fun, watch their favorite players in action, and cheer them on.

Instead, they are left sitting under an umbrella, watching covers take over the ground. And the people watching from the comfort of their homes, at work, or on the commute see the dreaded message crawl across their screens: "Match suspended due to rain".

Why is it that rain ruins so many cricket games, leaving both the players and fans in a foul mood?

First of all, cricket pitches are quite sensitive strips of earth. The slightest bit of moisture, grass covering or cracks can completely change the conditions. Even dew in the outfield can cause fielders to slip while attempting to save boundaries.

In a game where every single run makes a difference, weather or ground conditions that provide a disadvantage during one team's innings are just not acceptable. So the administrators do the only thing they perceive plausible: suspend the match.

Due to incessant showers, several matches in the World Cup 2019 have been affected. Intermittent rain led to a shortened game of 41 overs between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament. Luckily, some play was possible; in pursuit of a DLS-adjusted target of 187 Afghanistan were bowled out for a paltry score of 152, and Sri Lanka emerged victorious and earned their two precious points.

However, later on in Bristol, the game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka had to be abandoned without a single ball being bowled.

South Africa v West Indies - Stands lie empty as the rain gods have their way
South Africa v West Indies - Stands lie empty as the rain gods have their way

South Africa, desperate for a win in their 4th match, came out with a point to prove against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. However, the clouds had other plans.

Heavy rain only allowed 7.3 overs of play and the players were unable to return later in the day, forcing the match referee and umpires to abandon the match. South Africa and West Indies had to settle for a point each.

The clouds in Bristol weren't about to relent just yet. The rain persisted even the next day. Mashrafe Mortaza and Dimuth Karunaratne, the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka skippers respectively, couldn't even come out for the toss and once again, the match was abandoned.

Fans all over the world are left frustrated due to these cancellations, as there is nothing they can do about the pouring skies. The best that they can do is vent their anger in the comment sections of social media platforms.

The financial losses to the cricket boards, broadcasters and organizers are huge when a match gets cancelled.

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

But this is the World Cup. It comes around every 4 years! In an event of such magnitude and importance, there has to be something we can do about the rain, right?

Unfortunately, we can't. Planning reserve games for all the league games is next to impossible as it poses a logistical nightmare for the organisers. The hundreds of people working to broadcast the matches cannot prepare so much for a reserve day game that ends up not being needed. There would be huge financial losses incurred if reserve days were planned.

The weather is not something we can control. Not yet, at any rate.

For now, all we can do is wait. And maybe hope that the upcoming games aren't washed out as well. After all, we've had enough of dampened spirits.

Until the ICC and the cricketing world decides to take action, all we can do is helplessly stare at the words on our screen: "Match abandoned due to rain".

Also read - Most sixes in world cup

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Published 13 Jun 2019, 13:41 IST
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