Rain delays dampen the return of Test Cricket

After months of anticipation and hours of planning the rain ruined the joy of watching a full day of test cricket with only 17.5 overs of play on Day 1 at the Ageas Bowl.

Ben Stokes who was stand in captain for the first test due to Joe Root attending the birth of his second child, had some very tricky decisions to make. Ben was burdened with benching Stuart Broad who has taken 485 wickets in 138 Test matches and was England’s leading wicket taker in their win during the winter in South Africa.

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WI Players kneel in support of BLM movement (TRT World)

He won the toss and opted to bat first in conditions that were overcast and would be perfect for the England bowling attack which includes the pace of Archer and Wood alongside the experienced James Anderson

The long awaited return for international was finally over, and it entailed many new measures that players and officials needed to abide by. However amongst all this remained one constant, the damp British weather.

This raises more contemplation towards the idea of retraceable roofs to enable cricket to be played without any time loss due to the weather. The concept of a retractable roof has been used before during an International T20 game between Australia and South Africa in 2000.

The stadium situated in Melbourne, Australia known as “The Marvel Stadium” boasts a retractable roof of 125ft above the playing surface and only takes eight minutes to fully open and close and could be a potential blueprint for other stadiums across the world that are wishing to limit delays due to the weather.

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The Marvel Stadium showing the roof closed in 2019

It is evident within other sports such as tennis that have attempted to overcome weather adversities by using a retractable roof on Centre Court which is a folding roof made of waterproof translucent material that it is a concept which can be successful.

The sport of cricket is evolving with bigger bats and shorter formats so there could be drawbacks relating to costs to ensure repairs to any damage, an example of such brute force was shown by former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi when he scored 12 off a single legal delivery against Australia by crashing the ball against the roof of the stadium.

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Shahid Afridi former Pakistan captain (AFP)

The sport of cricket now has countless leagues which generate high revenue alongside the added interest emerging from a successful World Cup which saw hosts England crowned as World Champions. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 was the most watched ICC event ever, with a global audience of 1.6 billion.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said “These quite astounding numbers demonstrate the power of live cricket to connect and engage more deeply with diverse audiences around the world.

During the World Cup in 2019 several matches were interrupted due to rain which caused major frustration to fans and could become a leading factor in deterring many fans away from the sport.

The World Cup that was held in England and Wales was subjected to twice the number of average rainfall in June according to the Met Office weather forecasts for the UK.

The ICC did not have in place “reserve days” which made it impossible for teams to pick up maximum points which affected them severely. ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson said factoring in a reserve day would be “extremely complex to deliver” and citied logistical concerns. The ECB have announced “The Hundred” which will take place in England with the proposed start now being postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic  the idea of retractable roofs could be the way forward.

The rain surely is a frustrating factor but we will have to put up with rain delays a little longer until a feasible alternative is implemented.

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Qasam Aziz
26 Year Old| Sports Enthusiast| Aspiring Lawyer

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