Did ICC mess up the World Cup 2019 schedule?

Sourya Chowdhury

Covers are laid out at Bristol, the venue of the World Cup game between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Another day, another washout. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is fast becoming a rain-soaked tale of frustration as for the second day in a row, not a single ball was bowled before the umpires called off play in Bristol where Bangladesh were set to take on Sri Lanka in an intriguing all-Asian clash. Such a shame for the premier tournament of world cricket!

Already three matches have been abandoned due to England experiencing an unusually wet June and teams such as South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (with two abandoned matches), have legitimate reasons to be despondent because of the fickleness of the weather.

It is a veritable disaster in many ways, both for the image of the game and the financial aspect of it. It is a big disaster cricket-wise as well. For example, it will be a big setback for the tournament if the talented young guns of West Indies lose out on a semi-final berth because of their washout against South Africa. The passionate fans, many of whom have traveled vast distances to be here, were left frustrated again as they have been treated to some delectable cricket in the games that have managed to take place.

Wrong period?

Apparently, this is an unusually wet June month for the UK and so the ICC might not technically be blamed for holding the tournament now. It is true that all the other four World Cups held in England had taken place in June or May-June, but eyebrows need to be raised because of the extended nature of the tournament where the business end will carry it into July, historically, one of the wettest months in England.

If the rain gods inflict more damage and the big games towards the end also bear the brunt of the elements, then the ICC's gamble to extend the tournament into July might turn into a disaster.

Alternative options

Well, the 2011 World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was held from 19 February to 2 April. The English domestic season begins at the end of March or early April, so technically, a World Cup could have been played during that period. March is one of the drier months in the islands. Another option would have been to begin it in May and end in the first half of June to avoid a wet July; all of which were not considered by the ICC.

IPL to blame?

Was the decision to begin the Cup late influenced by a need to accommodate the Indian Premier League? One can only conjecture. However, the ICC should certainly have been more careful in their schedule, especially with it heading into mid-July for the knockout games. With June, the traditional World Cup month proving this wet, one can only hope July doesn't live up to its traditional tag. The game itself will be the loser otherwise.

Also read - World cup winners list

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