The Cricket World Cup weather has been poor but good luck trying to find a solution to the problem. Meanwhile, Michael Holding gets told off by the ICC and it could be all change for South Africa after the World Cup.
By Pieter Swanepoel.
Cricket World Cup Weather: We know the problem but what’s the solution?
Four fixtures have thus far been lost to rain: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, South Africa v West Indies, Sri Lanka v Pakistan and New Zealand v India.
For me the major problem with this is that some of the leading teams like New Zealand, India and even the West Indies are missing out on accumulating valuable points, which could have a direct impact on the build-up and participation in the semi-finals. Sri Lanka have now lost two chances of getting a win because their matches weren’t completed, due to poor Cricket World Cup weather. On top of this you also have the impact of innings reduced, due to rain stopping play.
Things have got so bad that the Betfair Exchange now offers betting markets on whether each match will actually be completed. For those interested in getting involved, ‘completed’ just means that there’s a result one way or another even if Duckworth-Lewis-Steyn comes into play, as opposed to a no result and a share of the spoils.
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A statement from the ICC chief executive Dave Richardson has been issued, listing the many complexities of factoring in reserve days: “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”.
Indeed there isn’t. Then again there is also no guarantee it would be a wash-out, so that is a moot point.
So what about players and spectators traveling to the game, pitches recovery, accommodation, staffing and broadcast logistics ?
It cannot be that much of an issue, because later in Richardson’s statement, none of it matters.
“We have reserve days factored in for the knockout stages”, he admits.
A report by Martin Samuel of the “Daily Mail” stated that the ICC do not have the wit to create space in the schedule to accommodate rearranged matches.
England and Wales were awarded the World Cup in 2006. That is more than 13 years to agree on a format that ensures the maximum amount of cricket. It is not as if rain in an English summer is entirely unforeseeable either. You could say the amount of bad Cricket World Cup weather has been no more than par for the course for this country.
According to Samuel, the reason a 10-team tournament drags on for more than a month and a half, yet has no room for manoeuvre in its calendar, is because the ICC and the broadcasters have agreed that, with a few exceptions, there will only be one match played each day.
It all means that for the time being, there doesn’t seem to be a solution to the Cricket World Cup weather problem. Other than just to hope that the rain stays away.
The ICC haven’t heard of freedom of speech
It has also been reported that the ICC wants commentators at the World Cup to be fair in their observations and has denied censoring West Indies Michael Holding for criticising match officials on the air last week.
The Caribbean great was aghast at the string of umpiring errors during the West Indies-Australian match at Trent Bridge and termed the standard of officiating “atrocious”‘.
Holding’s outburst prompted a letter from the ICC asking him to tone down.
Du Plessis, Tahir, Steyn and others expected to call it a day for Proteas
Led by Imran Tahir, South Africa’s attack overpowered Afghanistan to earn their first win in five games at the World Cup at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday.
Faf du Plessis won the toss and put the Afghans in to bat on a green patch and they collapsed to 125 all out in 34.1 overs , with their last nine wickets falling for just 69 runs.
South Africa, who had to chase a revised target of 127 in a match reduced to 48 overs per innings, won by nine wickets with 19.2 overs to spare.
While the Proteas were always comfortable in banking their first victory in the CWC19,
they could have given their net run rate a more significant boost, had they closed down the runs in less overs than what it eventually took.
The possible list of people involved with the Proteas for whom this World Cup could be their swansong makes for quite a list: Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Ottis Gibson, Mohammed Moosajee and Linda Zondi. The latter, as South Africa’s convener of selectors, doesn’t hit the headlines as hard as the rest of those who could bid South African cricket farewell after the World Cup.
Zondi reportedly said he was done after the World Cup, but was interested in staying in the role if, as Cricket South Africa (CSA) have mooted, it becomes a permanent appointment.
Ottis Gibson is, infamously, out as head coach, if he doesn’t win the World Cup. Who might succeed him is an unanswerable question. His assistant, Malibongwe Maketa, has been all but invisible, except on the training ground.
Moosajee will be out of a contract after the tournament. He has been South Africa’s manager since 2008 and their doctor since 2003. He is the most senior member of the dressing room and is looked to for guidance on many matters way beyond his remit.
Of the 15 players at the CWC19, Amla, Duminy and Tahir are over 35, with du Plessis, Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius and van der Dussen all past 30.
Duminy has heralded his retirement after the tournament , while Tahir will be available only for T20s in future. Steyn and Amla have made no announcement, but few would be surprised if they went.
As for du Plessis, the shock of how his team are performing at this World Cup surely won’t do much for the desire to keep doing the job. Neither will the thought that for his next trick, he will have to guide an already battered team through a potentially shattering tour of India.
New Zealand v South Africa
But first up, a must-win game against New Zealand. South Africa are a best price of 2.05 with Betway to win it.
New Zealand have won their last four World Cup clashes against South Africa, but maybe we should look at more recent performances. Five months after the 2015 World Cup, South Africa claimed a 2-1 ODI series over the Black Caps in South Africa, before taking a 3-2 series triumph in New Zealand in 2017 – victories that could give the Proteas the edge.