ICC rules out reserve days at World Cup after third washout sets unwanted record

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The International Cricket Council has appeared to rule out factoring in reserve days to future World Cup schedules after the sodden British summer claimed another fixture on Tuesday.

The match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Bristol was abandoned at 1.57pm without a ball being bowled as incessant rain once again played havoc.

It prompted Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes to express his frustration that the match couldn’t be completed on Wednesday, saying: ‘We put men on the moon, so why can’t we have a reserve day?’

Both teams collected a point as a result of the washout but Bristol claimed an unwanted piece of World Cup history after a second washout there in five days.

This is the third abandonment in this year’s World Cup, more than the previous highest number of abandoned games in the competition – two matches – in 1992 and 2003.

And there looks set to be further weather-related disruption when Australia play Pakistan at Taunton on Wednesday and India meet New Zealand at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

But ICC chief executive Dave Richardson ruled out the possibility of a re-think when it comes to reserve days. Currently only the World Cup semi-finals and final have a reserve day factored in.

He said: ‘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 1,200 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.’

With the early momentum of the tournament stalling, Yorkshire-born Rhodes had suggested that reserve days should be built into the scheduling.

‘I think when you look, if you know the English weather, sadly, we’re going to get a lot of rain,’ he said. ‘People from all over the world keep asking me whether it’s going to rain.

‘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 before games. If we have to travel a day later, so be it.

‘We put men on the moon, so why can’t we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament. 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.’

A second straight washout left Sri Lanka completely without momentum ahead of their fixture with Australia on Saturday.

But captain Dimuth Karunaratne was more understanding of the organisers’ dilemma.

‘If they can put on a reserve day, it’s fine, but it’s a major tournament, we are playing nine days,’ he said.

‘I don’t think they can keep a reserve day for us, because after the next day, you have to travel to a different venue so it’s not easy.’ 

 

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