NOTTINGHAM: Not without reason are they saying that umbrellas have suddenly become the most sought after commodity in England. Two weeks into the competition and the 2019 World Cup has already set the record for most number of matches not producing a result due to weather in a single edition.
Of the first 16 fixtures, three witnessed damp squibs, with two of them abandoned without a ball bowled. In 1992 (Australia-New Zealand) and 2003 (South Africa-Zimbabwe-Kenya) the World Cup had two matches each which did not produce a result because of rain.
With a wet spell forecast all over England for the remainder of this week, this tally can still grow. The only consolation for fans is, they will get a full refund if a match is washed out without a ball bowled. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has these games insured and the insurance company will pay the buyers back in case of washouts. The catch is, even if a single delivery is bowled, there will be no refund because it will count as a match that took place.
This is the fifth World Cup in England. The first one in 1975 was played in the brightest of weather and not a single match was affected by rain. It was the same in 1983, when the number of matches increased from 15 to 27. The 1979 and 1999 editions had one match each which were washed out.
The situation this time has led to calls of having reserve days for all the games, which the ICC has ruled out. There is a provision of playing on the next day in case a match doesn’t happen, but that is only for the two semifinals and the final. For the 45 matches in the league days, it’s either a truncated match or an abandoned match if it rains.
“Factoring in a reserve day for every match would significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically would be extremely complex to deliver. 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. There is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement.
It was exactly the opposite last summer when in a rare occurrence in England people were complaining of a heat wave. According to the statement by Richardson, there was just 2mm of rain last June. “But the last 24 hours alone has seen around 100mm rainfall in the south-east of England. In the last couple of days we have experienced more than twice the average monthly rainfall for June which is usually the third driest month in the UK.”
The Indian team did have nets at the Trent Bridge on Wednesday, but the bowlers were not seen bowling because of slippery underfoot conditions, as batsmen took throwdowns. The main pitch remained covered for most of the time in the morning. Soon after they left, a thin film of mist descended on the ground. On the roads, the umbrellas were back.