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Dampened spirit

Dampened spirit

Often in our lives, we have faced situations where our immediate plans have been ruined by circumstances out of our control. To be specific, one may have often heard, or even regrettably uttered, how rain ruined the day. There might still be an argument in the head whether the ruined day could be substituted with another so that the objective can still be carried out. But, as expected, there is no guarantee if that substitute day would not be ruined by rain; besides other factors. ICC currently faces a similar predicament. The 2019 Cricket World Cup hosted by England and Wales is perhaps the most anticipated sporting event of the year. All the hype, preparation, glamour, matches, however, have been eclipsed by dark clouds. ICC's quadrennial showpiece has been dampened. Four matches have suffered the same fate – match abandoned due to rain with a point each shared by the contesting teams for the day. Twitter has become a satirical ground for ICC to bear the brunt of mockery as English weather, often said to be gloomy, has come to be an absolute party spoiler for fans across the world. Well, there are some who have gone for the event and it is particularly hurtful for them to have travelled all the way and not able to see matches of their respective teams. The obvious question in this whole situation is what is or could have been the remedy? To begin with, the current argument of 'reserve days' has been aggressively discussed and ICC has put forward logistical challenges as a glaring obstacle to pursuing the idea of ruined matches being played on reserve days. ICC's argument is also not irrational. The format for this year's World Cup does not particularly support the idea of reserve days. The Round-robin tournament is a competition in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn. Now given that there are 10 teams contesting in the current edition, 45 matches are scheduled. Based on venues, some days have two matches and some just one. Tournament's time span is already long due to the format, reserve days will only make it longer. Now a rigid fan mentality would not include logistical challenges present to conduct a month-and-a-half long tournament with prospects of being even more longer due to potential reserve days as a backup. But ICC does. It recognises the difficulty and hence has only scheduled reserve days for semi-finals and the final to be played at Lords. It appears to be an impasse. Neither the ICC nor the fans are wrong. The rain has simply ruined the intensity of the tournament besides affecting the outcome in a variety of ways. A point each has jumbled the team strategy for matches. For few teams, their chances have come up better than they were and for few, it has become more complicated. Rain is definitely going to play a part in who the top four teams will be. In this situation of utter helplessness towards a showpiece that we waited four years for, there arises the question of whether round-robin could have been avoided for this World Cup, knowing the notorious nature of English weather. Round-robin tournament is a lengthy and highly competitive one. Given the months and understanding the global climatology to determine the venue would have been a great step to safeguard the tournament's feasibility considering how important weather is for Cricket. Unlike in football, a match of Cricket is instantly called off if rains intervene. If England and Wales were to be the venue irrespective of weather technicalities even then the best step would have been to conduct the group and knockout style tournament which would have been still feasible despite the rain spoiling the day. But all that is for future now and the current edition will have to find luck in the matches yet to be played. With venue preparations in place and tickets sold, changing venues is not a feasible option anymore. A casual weather update of Manchester shows spotty showers on Sunday as a billion Indians find the most-anticipated fixture of the tournament – India versus Pakistan – in potential jeopardy. But again, some of them did want India to boycott. Maybe the easterlies carried the misluck all the way to Britain.

Editorial

Editorial

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