Reserve day not feasible in current format

General view of the covers over the pitch during a rain delay. Reuters

On the eve of Thursday’s India-New Zealand match, rain is expected to affect the game with forecast for light showers for the day. While there’s no threat of a washout as of now, the ongoing World Cup has left several teams frustrated with their games either being abandoned without a ball bowled or called off due to rain interruption.

On Wednesday, the rained off match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was the third such instance of this World Cup where the teams had to split points, the most in any single edition. The 1992 and 2003 editions saw two matches each with no results and this edition isn’t even half-way through its 46-day duration. This being the flagship event of cricket, recurrence of rain stoppages isn’t a good advertisement for the game but then weather is in nobody’s control.

Understandably, players and coaches have expressed their frustration at losing out on precious points, but cricket is a great leveller and in such a long tournament, things usually even out. In these moments of helplessness, suggestions of a reserve day for each rained out match have been made but in a long tournament, where each team is playing the other, it becomes a logistical nightmare. It’s not like World Cups never had reserves days for all matches. In 1999 and 2007, they did have that luxury but the formats were different and hence easy to accommodate an extra day for each match.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson explained the complexity of having a reserve day, saying it’s not a feasible idea. “It (reserve day) 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.”

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