A hint of drizzle derails cricket games and ruins entire matches, but now the sport’s governing body in England is looking into experimental ways of preventing it.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) allegedly met with a company which focuses on experimental solutions to niche problems, called X – The Moonshot Company.
It is reported the meeting investigated potential ways of eradicating the need for the dreaded phrase ‘rain stopped play’ from being uttered again.
One potential solution may be a fine mesh over the entire ground suspended in the air by a weather balloon.
X was originally a division of Google but the name changed when Alphabet, now Google’s parent firm, was created.
X claims it is not working on such endeavours and told MailOnline: ‘Although we’ve worked out how to make cars that drive themselves and balloons that deliver the internet, nothing can fix the problem of rain in the UK.’
Another option is the use of cloud seeding technology, as used by the Chinese government during the Beijing Olympics, but this is likely to be prohibitively expensive.
X is working on ways to deliver broadband to rural and remote communities around the world using the balloons, as part of it’s ongoing Project Loon.
Plastic balloons powered by solar energy are suspended 12 miles (19km) in the air and used to provide WiFi to remote areas of Africa.
Project Loon will receive internet signals and then send them towards Earth where it can be picked up.
Issues are abundant when it comes to stopping rain affecting play in cricket.
The balloon/mesh idea would likely be affected heavily by strong weather conditions sch as heavy rain and winds.
It is also unknown if there would be a plan in place for where the water would go when running off the net.
Details of the meeting between X and the ECB and what was discussed have not been released.
Rain is a major issue for cricket as it can often wash out entire sessions, days and matches.
The covers are pulled on while players and fans alike all wait for the shower to pass.
England is currently hosting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, with games happening around the country for the next six weeks and an almost daily basis.
These one day international fixtures can often be rendered unplayable due to rain, with thousands of fans left without seeing a ball bowled and needing refunds.
Cloud seeding is an elaborate scheme which has been used before to alter weather conditions and ensure there is no rain in a certain location at a specific time but it is an extremely expensive process.
Bruce Boe, vice-president of meteorology at the US company Weather Modification Incorporated, told The Times that cloud-seeding would cost upwards of £800,000 ($1 million) a match.
It was used in the Beijing Olympics but this one-off occurrence is a vastly different proposition than for any one of dozens of domestic and international cricket games in the UK every year.
Seeding doesn’t get rid of precipitation, it simply encourages it to fall sooner.
This poses issues for the people in the way of the clouds,which will likely see rain fall on them far more often as event organisers aim to prevent it reaching the venue.
‘In China, what the government says, goes,’ said Mr Boe. ‘No one in China will argue if the government makes it rain on their heads instead of in Beijing.
‘In the UK or the USA that’s a very different story. You can see that people outside of London may not be too pleased if it rains on them to protect a cricket match taking place elsewhere.
‘If you try to delay precipitation it is very difficult, you have to deliver a huge amount of the seeding agent and target the whole volume of the cloud — if you miss a little bit then you can actually increase the chance of it raining.’