Ireland’s players take shelter from the rain. GETTY IMAGES/22102829
There have been two constants in the 2022 T20 World Cup. Underdogs beating favourites and matches being abandoned due to rain. Both games at the MCG in Melbourne on Friday were abandoned without a ball being bowled. Cricket analyst Rahul Patil looks at what this means for the tournament moving forward.
Ireland vs Afghanistan - Match abandoned without a ball being bowled
Australia vs England - Match abandoned without a ball being bowled
Cricket is a summer sport. It is one of
the few sports in the world that cannot be played in the rain. The reasons for
this are many. The pitch gets damaged, the outfield becomes slippery and
players safety is compromised, the ball gets wet and becomes difficult to grip
and the batters have to deal with poor visibility.
A lot of questions have been raised around
the scheduling of this World Cup in the month of October/November in Australia.
To be fair to the organisers though, the Sheffield Shield (Australia’s domestic
first class competition) is played every year at this time without any
significant weather related interruptions. It is just unlucky that the T20 World
Cup has coincided with some of the wettest periods in Australian history.
But in a cricket world cup where so much
is at stake is it ok that four out of 14 matches in the Super 12 stage so far
have been abandoned due to rain? Is it not time for the ICC to eliminate the
threat of rain by playing at stadiums with a roof? The purists might argue that
the weather is a key element of the game of cricket and playing indoors will be
tampering with the fundamentals of the game. But if the option is indoor
cricket or no cricket, I know what I would vote for.
The other factor to consider is the
emotional one. Think about Afghanistan for example. They had two matches scheduled
at the MCG. Only two or three of their players have played at the historic
stadium before. For the rest it was a lifelong dream and once in a lifetime
chance to play cricket there and display their skills in front of thousands of
fans. Who knows when they will get that opportunity again?
The fans are equally disappointed when a
match is washed out. Yes, they get a refund of their ticket money but I am sure
they would rather prefer to see their favourite stars in action. International
cricket is now a commodity worth billions of dollars and if the ICC wants to
expand and grow the game it cannot afford to lose any more cricket matches
because of rain. It is well and truly time to put a lid on it (pun intended).
If we look at the tournament table, Group
2 has not been affected much. The only game abandoned in this group due to rain
was the South Africa versus Zimbabwe clash. Both those teams are currently in
second and third place respectively behind table toppers India. If the rest of
the results go as expected then India and South Africa should make it to the
semis from this group. I had picked them to go through at the start of this
tournament and it’s good to see my prediction still holding strong.
Group 1 on the other hand is where all the
action is. We have four teams currently on three points and only separated by
net run rates. The remaining two are on two points each. Mathematically all six
teams are still in with a realistic chance of making it to the semis. I had
picked Australia and England to go through to the semis from this group but
with a game in hand and an awesome net run rate New Zealand look set to spoil
the party for one of these two teams at least.
If we lose any more matches to the rain
then the credibility of this World Cup will be questioned and for that reason
alone I genuinely hope that the rain does indeed go to Spain.