The ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup has already set a record: for being the cricket world cup with the most number of abandoned matches. While it is killing off spectator enthusiasm, injuries to some key players are threatening to take the sheen of further action when the sun shines.
A Record on Rain-Affected Matches
Yesterday’s match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Bristol was abandoned without a ball being bowled. It was the third abandoned match in the tournament.
The first time it happened in this world cup was in Bristol itself, when the match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was washed out. South Africa’s crucial game against West Indies too ended in a no result when rain interrupted play after just 7.3 overs.
Matches have been abandoned in some previous world cups as well, but not three matches. In the 1992 world cup in Australia and in the 2003 world cup in South Africa, two games were abandoned due to rain. In the 1996 world cup in the Indian subcontinent, Australia and West Indies forfeited their matches in Sri Lanka for security concerns.
So in terms of the number of matches not held, this world cup has already set a record. If the weather forecasts are any indications, more matches are likely to join the list.
No Provision for Reserve Days
England is notorious for its unexpected rains and fickle weather. The country is hosting the cricket world cup for a record fourth time. In the earlier world cup editions in England, there was a provision for a reserve day. The next day of the scheduled date was ear-marked as the reserve day to account for any rain interruption. As a result, there were not many cases of abandoned matches in the earlier world cups in England.
The frequent rain interventions have re-kindled the call for a reserve day. Sri Lanka has been the most rain-affected team in the tournament, with two of their matches having been washed out. Steve Rhodes, Sri Lanka’s coach, batted for a reserve day. He has a logical argument:
“We put men on the moon, so why can’t we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament.”
It’s hard to disagree with him.
Injuries Take Their Toll
As the tournament progressed, some of the key players have got injured too. The latest in the injury list are India’s opener Shikhar Dhawan and Australia’s all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. Both of them are key players to the team’s prospects.
Their further participation in the tournament is doubtful. India will have to find a new opener. They have a ready replacement in KL Rahul, but his record as an opener is underwhelming. The absence of Stoinis will jeopardize Australia’s team balance. Australia will have to either play an additional bowler or risk exposing the part-time bowlers.