At 3pm on a day of spitting rain, the India-New Zealand match at Nottingham was called off without a ball being bowled. Neither team was massively affected as they came into the game without having lost a match. And yet there was plenty of frustration all around.
Speaking soon after the game was called off, R Sridhar, the fielding coach, gave India’s perspective. “Yeah, it is frustrating to wait in the dressing room on a rainy day. It’s a challenge for the players and the support staff to switch down but not really switch off, because the match could start at any time, so keep yourself prepared in the back of the mind,” said Sridhar. “At the same time, not think too much about the game and keep yourself a little busy, reading, some music, or chatting with friends. But we deal with it all the time.”
When asked if this was a bit of a downer given that India were playing Pakistan in a big match next, Sridhar could only shrug his shoulders. “It’s uncontrollable, isn’t it? You really can’t control the weather, so we’ve had two good games. We came here looking forward to the third good one, but unfortunately, we can’t control the weather,” said Sridhar. “I went on the ground. It was almost like a skating rink. So it would put too much risk on the players to play on there, especially at the early phase of the tournament.”
Naturally the question of having reserve days for all matches was put to Sridhar. “Oh, there’s a big technical committee from the ICC on that. It depends on the format, the time available. We don’t have any days off in this tournament. Every day there is a game. So there’s hardly an opportunity to have a reserve day. I don’t know the technical aspect of it. The ICC will decide that. It’s not for me to take that call.”
If Sridhar was frustrated, Gary Stead, the former New Zealand batsman and current coach, was just as disappointed. “Yeah, it would have been lovely to play. It’s always tough mentally, I think on a day like this, when you come down prepared to play, and it doesn’t happen. But as you said, it’s out of our control. We can’t really do much about it, so we’ve got to move on quickly for South Africa.”
Stead was asked what could be done to streamline the process of rain delays and washouts, but there was little he could offer in terms of radical ideas. “Reserve days, I think, is going to be a logistical nightmare. The ICC, I think, have made that fairly well-known. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of an anomaly already. When you look at the amount of days we’ve lost already, I think it’s the biggest sort of amount of days lost in a World Cup ever. So we can’t do much about that. We just have to, I guess, push on with what the schedule is.”
It was put to stead that this sort of rain interruption could cause the ICC to think twice about staging such events in England or New Zealand, where the weather can turn pretty quickly at any time of the year, but he did not think this would be the case. “I don’t think so. If you took the UK summer from last year, then I’m not sure it did rain at all from the sound of things. It’s a bit of bad luck really. It can rain anywhere in the world. My first tour was in Dubai, and it rained there in the desert, and I never thought it was going to rain there either. So I don’t think we can really help that.”