It was a sad sight in Southampton as South Africa earned its first point of the tournament thanks to the rain. (AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Rain, rain, go away.
- There has been three washed-out matches at the Cricket World Cup
- Organisers did not schedule reserve days for group matches and have blamed “unseasonable weather”
- Aaron Finch said the washouts might impact qualifications for the semi-finals
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been forced to defend its policy of not scheduling reserve days for group-stage matches after a second successive match was abandoned due to “unseasonable” wet weather in England.
The Cricket World Cup has been blighted by a third washed out game in the past six matches when Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were unable to deliver a single ball at a soggy County Ground in Bristol overnight.
The abandoned match came hot on the heels of a no result being declared between South Africa and the West Indies the day before, when just 45 balls were bowled at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
It was the second time in as many matches that the weather got the better of a day’s play in the west-country city, after Pakistan’s clash with Sri Lanka last Friday also succumbed to the weather.
Rain may yet play a part in Australia’s upcoming contest against Pakistan, scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Taunton.
A leaden Bristolian sky dumped water on the ground as fast as the staff could remove it. (PA via AP: Nick Potts)
Rain is forecast for the morning, before clearing in the afternoon.
With three games already forfeited due to the weather, this World Cup has set an unwanted record of having the most matches abandoned of any tournament, with 32 matches still to be played over the next month.
Organisers bemoan ‘unseasonable weather’
Contrary to popular perceptions of English summertime weather, Cricket World Cup boss Dave Richardson said the amount of rain was unexpected.
“This is extremely unseasonable weather,” he said.
“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.”
Although some may chuckle at the suggestion rain in England is ever unseasonable, this assertion is backed up from the last time England hosted the World Cup in 1999.
In that tournament, only one game was abandoned due to rain, the group-stage match between Zimbabwe and New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds.
Spectators have been left disappointed over the past week thanks to the wet weather in Southampton and Bristol. (AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Two previous tournaments have had two matches washed out.
The Australia/New Zealand hosted tournament in 1992 saw matches in Mackay and Adelaide washed out, whilst the Southern Africa-hosted tournament of 2003 had games in Bulwayo and Benoni abandoned.
Why are there no reserve days?
Previous incarnations of the World Cup have factored in reserve days for group matches, but Richardson said this was not an option in England.
“Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the World Cup would significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically, would be extremely complex to deliver,” he said via an ICC statement.
“There is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either.”
Citing difficulties of pitch preparation, team travel, accommodation, staffing and spectator concerns, Richardson said reserve days were factored in for the semi-finals and final.
“We have reserve days factored in for the knock-out stages, knowing that over the course of 45 group games we should play the large majority,” he said.
There is a risk some teams may be affected more than others.
Sri Lanka will take on Australia having not played in 11 days after successive abandonments.
Pakistan will be in a similar boat if Wednesday’s clash against Australia is washed out ahead of a highly anticipated clash against India on June 16.
Finch warns of major impact
Aaron Finch emphasised the value of having victories in the bank early in the tournament. (Reuters: Paul Childs)
Australia captain Aaron Finch said the weather would be a major factor in the coming days and the impact of washouts would likely be felt later on in the tournament.
“It might play a huge part actually in the next few days,” Finch said from Taunton, where the Australian team was forced to train indoors due to the wet weather.
“I think next week it starts to fine up and looks good across the country for the remainder of the tournament.
“But it’s important that you get early wins on the board because if they do play a part, you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that might leave you just outside that top four.”
Stoinis side strain leads to Mitch Marsh call up
Australia will be without Marcus Stoinis for Wednesday’s clash after the all-rounder suffered a side strain.
Mitch Marsh has been flown out early as emergency cover should Stoinis be ruled out for the tournament.
Marcus Stoinis has suffered a side strain and is in doubt for the rest of the tournament. (AP: Frank Augstein)
Finch said Australia would not change its approach ahead of the Pakistan match, adding it was dangerous to assume the rain would shorten the match.
“You’ve just got to make sure that you’re as well prepared as you can be,” he said.
“You never bank on rain, you always prepare for the full 50 overs, and you work on the spot.
“Your team might change if it’s a really delayed start or something like that.
“Everyone has to be prepared to shuffle their roles about a bit and be really adaptable.”