2:39 PM ETAlan GardnerAssociate editor, ESPNcricinfo CloseFollow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint
Following a third washout in five days, questions have been asked about the planning for wet weather at the World Cup. The tournament does not feature reserve days for the group stage – although the semi-finals and final are covered – but ticketholders can at least be assured of refunds if the rain continues to rule. Here is everything you need to know about the current soggy scenario.
Why are there no reserve days?
The lack of reserve days basically boils down to logistics. The nature of setting up a ground to host an international match is such that doing it all again the next day – not to mention booking hotels, rearranging travel schedules, and keeping broadcast teams on site – is prohibitive. With group games on 45 consecutive days, there is virtually no wriggle room. The ICC takes into account statistical rainfall when creating its schedule but, in the words of chief executive David Richardson, has had to contend with “extremely unseasonable weather” over recent days.
“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,” Richardson said. “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 knockout stages, knowing that over the course of 45 group games we should play the large majority.”
Haven’t previous editions had reserve days?
They have, but not for a while. The last World Cup to feature reserve days was 2007, in the Caribbean, while they were also used the last time it was held in England, in 1999. Only two matches made use of the back-up option on that occasion, one of which enabled India to complete victory over England and knock out the hosts. Subsequent tournaments saw an increase in teams, and therefore matches, with reserves days usually the casualty.
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What is the ICC policy on refunds?
If the game is a complete abandonment, then you will be entitled to your money back. In fact, if you see 15 overs or less (as at the Hampshire Bowl on Monday), it is still a full refund; between 15.1 and 29.5 overs of play, then 50% of the ticket price will be returned. If you purchased your ticket online, a refund will be issued automatically within 28 days, while those bought from the box office should be returned via post.
Is this the most rain-affected World Cup ever?
In short: yes. There had previously only been two complete abandonments (without a toss) in the history of the tournament – there have now been two within a week at Bristol. Added to Monday’s no-result in Southampton, that means three matches lost to the weather. The 1992 and 2003 World Cups both saw two no-results.
Who has benefited/lost out?
No one has much to gain from rained-off games, although Sri Lanka perhaps have a couple more points than might have been expected had they actually played Pakistan and Bangladesh, both teams higher in the ICC rankings. South Africa got their first point of the tournament but, after three defeats in a row, already face a difficult path to the knockouts. The top four – New Zealand, England, India and Australia – have not been affected (so far), and will doubtless hope it stays that way.
Is there more bad weather to come?
That is, unfortunately, a possibility. The forecast for the next few days is patchy, with matches in Taunton (Australia v Pakistan), Nottingham (India v New Zealand) and Southampton (England v West Indies) unlikely to avoid the rain completely. The Met Office has issued flood warnings for the south east, while some bookmakers are taking bets on this being the wettest UK June in history. So we might be turning to the Duckworth Lewis Method once again.