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T20 World Cup 2024: Inept ICC handling behind 'washouts'

Even if the first washout (Nepal versus Sri Lanka) at the venue can be ignored for the storms came in hard and there was rain in the air for the better part of the day and night, the two games which didn’t happen, had no business not happening.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 14:24 IST

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Lauderhill: It has barely rained in this part of South Florida in over seventy-two hours. Yet, only one of the three scheduled games at the Central Broward Regional Park stadium in Lauderhill has happened in that time. 

Even if the first washout (Nepal versus Sri Lanka) at the venue can be ignored for the storms came in hard and there was rain in the air for the better part of the day and night, the two games which didn’t happen, had no business not happening.

The official reason the International Cricket Council offered was that the surface was wet and therefore play was impossible. 

That call denied India a chance to add to their game time before heading to the Super Eights in the Caribbean. That denied Canada access to playing against India. That denied the United States of America a chance to upstage Ireland.

That’s three avoidable ‘washouts’ during a World Cup. So, why then did the ICC take the tournament to a place which is in the midst of a hurricane season? 

Even if that decision can be pardoned because cricket has to ‘expand’, the issue is that the organisers - the ICC is in charge of handling this entire tournament - didn’t bother with what could be controlled. 

The ICC should have equipped those at the Lauderhill facility with covers for the entire ground. The Americans don’t mind spending the money, they want directives, though. The ICC, with all its wisdom, should have provided them with the intel.

Had the field of play been fully covered, there is every chance that at least two of the three games which were abandoned would have played out.

Asking for a SubAir Systems, the likes of which is set up at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru, might be too expensive to orchestrate, but covering the entire playing field is not exactly the most expensive ordeal. If Sri Lanka and parts of India do it, newer venues should be able to.

Sure, it requires expertise and more people on the job, but that’s what the ICC has going for it. Or does it?

The conditions at Lauderhill are not dissimilar to those in the subcontinent -- it’s hot and humid and when it rains it pours. Also, these are conditions which are going to be presented to the teams in the Caribbean during the Super Eights.

The ‘wet season’, aka monsoon, is between June and November so as the Super Eight qualifiers moved to the islands they were met with cloudy skies and heavy humidity. 

So far, only one game in the Caribbean was washed out so that’s dandy, but there are a fair few games to be played, and it’s not just some bilateral series. This is the World Cup and should more games get called off, the ICC is going to come under the pump. 

Again, if they manage to acquire covers to safe-zone the playing area, there should be enough cricket available, but it doesn’t look like they’re prudent enough to set it up as such. 

They will decide to move to new venues in haste and not concern themselves with problem-solving. What happens in the Caribbean remains to be seen, but there is no reason why the ICC should not have told their American affiliates that they should be in a position to cover the entire playing area. 

Nassau County doesn’t get much rainfall so not spending on rain-proofing is understandable, but the Central Broward Regional Park stadium is in the middle of a hurricane zone so it was always going to rain. 

The issue isn’t the weather itself, though. The issue is that the ICC didn’t bother setting up the facilities to avoid such petty reasons for important matches to get called off. 

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Published 17 June 2024, 14:24 IST

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