The gloomy scene at Bristol County ground for two successive World Cup matches involving Sri Lanka. - AFP
BRISTOL, Wednesday - The ICC reacting to comments made on having a reserve day for World Cup matches by captains and coaches has issued the following statement through its CEO Dave Richardson.
“Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 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.
“Up to 1200 people are on site to deliver a match and everything associated with it including getting it broadcast and a proportion of them are moving around the country so reserve days in the group stage would require a significant uplift in the number of staff. 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.
“This is extremely unseasonable weather. 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. In 2018 there was just 2mm of rain in June but the last 24 hours alone has seen around 100mm fall in the south-east of England.
“When a match is affected by weather conditions, the venue team work closely with Match Officials and Ground Staff to ensure that we have the best possible opportunity to play cricket, even if it is a reduced overs game. We also work to keep fans in the stadium, or those travelling to the game, as up-to-date as possible with any information we have, either through public announcements or on our social media channels.
Following Tuesday’s washout of the World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at Bristol the captain of the Sri Lanka team and the head coach of Bangladesh both called for reserve days to be introduced.
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said, “If the ICC can to give a reserve day its fine. It’s a major tournament and we are playing 9 games. I don’t think it is possible to give us an additional day because we have to travel the day after the match. It is not easy but I feel if they can have a reserve day it will be good for everyone.”
Steve Rhodes the former England wicket-keeper and coach currently head coach of Bangladesh was also in agreement with Karunaratne when he said, “Yeah, I would. If you know the English weather, sadly, we’re going to get a lot of rain. We never know when the rain’s going to come. People from all over the world keep asking me whether it’s going to rain; I don’t know. But at the moment, we’re seeing some problems. And I know logistically, it would have been a big headache for the tournament organisers, and I know that it would have been difficult, but we have got quite a lot of time in between games, and if we have got to travel a day later, then so be it.
“We put men on the moon (laughing) so why can’t we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long one. They are spread out, the games. I would say that it’s disappointing for the crowd, as well. They have got tickets to see a game of cricket, and you know, it would be up to them if they can get there the day after,” he said.
Sri Lanka had back to back matches washed out without a ball bowled at Bristol against Pakistan and Bangladesh and face the prospect of going into their World Cup match against Australia at the Oval on Saturday June 15 without playing a match for 11 days.
The 2019 World Cup has already earned the reputation as the World Cup with the most abandoned games. It already has three with the South Africa-West Indies match at Southampton being abandoned as a no-result with only 7.3 overs bowled and unless there is a change in the weather the numbers could increase.