Cricket

With cricket being a predominantly outdoor, summer sport, the weather can have a direct impact on matches.

Games can last a long time, with Test Matches spanning the equivalent of a working week. Weather conditions can change and essentially dictate the balance of power in a game. For example, sunny weather is ideal for batters, whereas bowlers favour overcast conditions.

Research by the University of Portsmouth has shown that the runs players make between the wickets can be the equivalent of running a marathon. We’ve looked at how different weather conditions can affect both player wellbeing and team performance.

Weather

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Heat and humidity

Usually playing in the summer, cricketers spend most of their career in warm weather.

Couple this with the long-sleeved shirts, trousers with padding, and helmets that cricketers wear, and you can soon see that the heat can directly affect players.

Heat stress and other related illnesses are very real risks for cricketers, which are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme heat and humidity. Whilst heat stress can affect individuals differently, one of the biggest effects is dehydration, which negatively impacts the performance of all players.

Australian hall of famer Dean Jones, famous for his 1986 double century in the oppressive Indian heat, has called for a 41°C temperature limit to exist in the game to avoid severe illness. During that test match in Chennai, the Aussie batsman battled the conditions for more than eight hours before his stint between the stumps finally ended and he was hospitalised.

Elite players are usually sweat tested to work out their hydration levels, but all players should regularly drink fluid to keep their levels consistent.

Players naturally acclimatise to the conditions they regularly play in, so when the England team travels to Australia, they will often feel the effects of heat and humidity much more harshly than their counterparts. In fact, back at the 2017-18 Ashes, players faced the hottest ever conditions in Australia, with temperatures rising to over 40°C.

England captain and batsman Joe Root was even forced to retire from the crease after taking ill in the extreme heat. Needless to say, Australia won.

Rain

The 2019 Cricket World Cup was hailed as the wettest ever, with four matches cancelled because of rain, the most since the tournament’s inception in 1975, including the much-anticipated group game between India v New Zealand.

The two nations also met at the semi-final stage, when play was delayed into the tournament reserve day as rain once again threatened abandonment. If the reserve day wasn’t in place, India would’ve gone through thanks to their pool stage ranking, and we might not have seen *that* final, all down to the rain.

Some fans were left questioning why the International Cricket Council decided to hold a tournament in England, given British summers are famous for having unpredictable weather.

According to The Climate Coalition, as of 2018, 27% of one-day fixtures in England have been delayed or cancelled due to rain since 2000, and Welsh county side Glamorgan have lost the equivalent to 217 days of cricket in the same time.

While rain in the air can be advantageous to some player positions, too much rain can have a negative effect. It’s common for games to be delayed or cancelled altogether if the rain is too heavy.

For bowlers, rain in the air can be a benefit, as it helps to aid with swing bowling. However, this can be extremely dangerous for batsmen; it can be hard to see the ball, which could be travelling towards them at speeds of over 80mph. These factors can also increase potential injuries of fielders.

If the ground gets wet, then the speed of the ball will slow down, if it gets too slippery, it becomes harder for players to grip.

Rain can also have an impact on preparing the pitch for a game. The wicket can become too soft, which is a problem for batsmen, as the ball will be unpredictable. Batsmen prefer less moisture in the ground, as it means the wicket has more bounce, and the ball’s movements are more predictable

In test cricket, poor conditions and rain delays can also impact how a captain approaches a match tactically. A quite straightforward run chase can be made more complex if a side is suddenly given less time at the crease after a downpour stops play. Famously, a 1990 test match in the West Indies saw England just 78 runs from victory before Caribbean showers halted the game. Bad conditions saw the match drawn, and it’s still talked about 30 years later.

Wind

Strong winds can result in the ball swinging, which makes it much more difficult for batsmen to bat.

Bowling with a tailwind can produce a slight increase in velocity for bowlers, which is why they often prefer to bowl with the wind behind them, requiring less effort. The only bowlers who prefer to bowl into the wind, are the ones who like to add spin to the ball.

However, one of the benefits of playing cricket in the wind, is that it can increase the rate of sweat evaporation, which can maintain, or even lower, players’ body temperatures.

New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, holds the title of being the windiest city in the world, with its wind speeds blowing at an average of 16mph. Whilst this could be problematic for cricketers, its pitch, Basin Reserve was built to protect the players from this, the surrounding hills creating a natural barrier.

Perth is another test match destination that’s renowned for its strong winds, which makes it a tricky location if teams are bowling into these winds.

Freezing temperatures

As cricket is a summer sport, in the winter, players will either play matches indoors, or use this time to go to the gym and build strength, power, speed, endurance and technique.

However, there may be times in the Great British summer where cricketers will find themselves playing matches in colder temperatures. One example of this was the 2007 England-West Indies test held in Leeds, which saw maximum temperatures of only 7°C. To make matters even more difficult for the players in the match, fog also descended on the pitch which in turn, increased the moisture of the pitch and made it more difficult for players to see the ball.

Another disadvantage of playing cricked in cold weather is that it can make the ball feel heavier and harder, putting the fielding side at a disadvantage, when they’re trying to catch the ball.

Another factor to consider in colder temperatures is air density, as the side force on a cricket ball is directly proportional to this. When it is colder and the air density is higher, the ball can drag and slow down.

Close

Heat and humidity

Usually playing in the summer, cricketers spend most of their career in warm weather.

Couple this with the long-sleeved shirts, trousers with padding, and helmets that cricketers wear, and you can soon see that the heat can directly affect players.

Heat stress and other related illnesses are very real risks for cricketers, which are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme heat and humidity. Whilst heat stress can affect individuals differently, one of the biggest effects is dehydration, which negatively impacts the performance of all players.

Australian hall of famer Dean Jones, famous for his 1986 double century in the oppressive Indian heat, has called for a 41°C temperature limit to exist in the game to avoid severe illness. During that test match in Chennai, the Aussie batsman battled the conditions for more than eight hours before his stint between the stumps finally ended and he was hospitalised.

Elite players are usually sweat tested to work out their hydration levels, but all players should regularly drink fluid to keep their levels consistent.

Players naturally acclimatise to the conditions they regularly play in, so when the England team travels to Australia, they will often feel the effects of heat and humidity much more harshly than their counterparts. In fact, back at the 2017-18 Ashes, players faced the hottest ever conditions in Australia, with temperatures rising to over 40°C.

England captain and batsman Joe Root was even forced to retire from the crease after taking ill in the extreme heat. Needless to say, Australia won.

Close

Rain

The 2019 Cricket World Cup was hailed as the wettest ever, with four matches cancelled because of rain, the most since the tournament’s inception in 1975, including the much-anticipated group game between India v New Zealand.

The two nations also met at the semi-final stage, when play was delayed into the tournament reserve day as rain once again threatened abandonment. If the reserve day wasn’t in place, India would’ve gone through thanks to their pool stage ranking, and we might not have seen *that* final, all down to the rain.

Some fans were left questioning why the International Cricket Council decided to hold a tournament in England, given British summers are famous for having unpredictable weather.

According to The Climate Coalition, as of 2018, 27% of one-day fixtures in England have been delayed or cancelled due to rain since 2000, and Welsh county side Glamorgan have lost the equivalent to 217 days of cricket in the same time.

While rain in the air can be advantageous to some player positions, too much rain can have a negative effect. It’s common for games to be delayed or cancelled altogether if the rain is too heavy.

For bowlers, rain in the air can be a benefit, as it helps to aid with swing bowling. However, this can be extremely dangerous for batsmen; it can be hard to see the ball, which could be travelling towards them at speeds of over 80mph. These factors can also increase potential injuries of fielders.

If the ground gets wet, then the speed of the ball will slow down, if it gets too slippery, it becomes harder for players to grip.

Rain can also have an impact on preparing the pitch for a game. The wicket can become too soft, which is a problem for batsmen, as the ball will be unpredictable. Batsmen prefer less moisture in the ground, as it means the wicket has more bounce, and the ball’s movements are more predictable

In test cricket, poor conditions and rain delays can also impact how a captain approaches a match tactically. A quite straightforward run chase can be made more complex if a side is suddenly given less time at the crease after a downpour stops play. Famously, a 1990 test match in the West Indies saw England just 78 runs from victory before Caribbean showers halted the game. Bad conditions saw the match drawn, and it’s still talked about 30 years later.

Close

Wind

Strong winds can result in the ball swinging, which makes it much more difficult for batsmen to bat.

Bowling with a tailwind can produce a slight increase in velocity for bowlers, which is why they often prefer to bowl with the wind behind them, requiring less effort. The only bowlers who prefer to bowl into the wind, are the ones who like to add spin to the ball.

However, one of the benefits of playing cricket in the wind, is that it can increase the rate of sweat evaporation, which can maintain, or even lower, players’ body temperatures.

New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, holds the title of being the windiest city in the world, with its wind speeds blowing at an average of 16mph. Whilst this could be problematic for cricketers, its pitch, Basin Reserve was built to protect the players from this, the surrounding hills creating a natural barrier.

Perth is another test match destination that’s renowned for its strong winds, which makes it a tricky location if teams are bowling into these winds.

Close

Freezing temperatures

As cricket is a summer sport, in the winter, players will either play matches indoors, or use this time to go to the gym and build strength, power, speed, endurance and technique.

However, there may be times in the Great British summer where cricketers will find themselves playing matches in colder temperatures. One example of this was the 2007 England-West Indies test held in Leeds, which saw maximum temperatures of only 7°C. To make matters even more difficult for the players in the match, fog also descended on the pitch which in turn, increased the moisture of the pitch and made it more difficult for players to see the ball.

Another disadvantage of playing cricked in cold weather is that it can make the ball feel heavier and harder, putting the fielding side at a disadvantage, when they’re trying to catch the ball.

Another factor to consider in colder temperatures is air density, as the side force on a cricket ball is directly proportional to this. When it is colder and the air density is higher, the ball can drag and slow down.

Sources

• https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-10/report-warns-of-dangers-of-extreme-heat-in-cricket/11493914

• https://www.forbes.com/sites/tristanlavalette/2019/09/30/crickets-climate-change-dilemma/#5f93787d66ae

• https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/ashes-201718-scg-sunday-roast-fries-players-and-33285-fans-on-hottest-day-of-test-cricket-in-australia-20180107-h0eodw.html

• https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/08/root-in-hospital-with-dehydration-and-in-doubt-to-resume-batting

• https://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/india-vs-australia-1986-87-dean-jones-urinated-vomited-was-dehydrated-but-he-continued-to-battle-on-18060

• https://www.sportingnews.com/au/cricket/news/jones-calls-for-heat-policy-changes-after-sydney-scorcher/82ls11qm93gy115ly3e5ezdk5

• https://www.cricketequipmentusa.com/how-weather-conditions-affect-the-match-48

• https://www.cricketedge.co.uk/how-does-the-weather-conditions-impact-cricket/

• https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-26/how-weather-affects-cricket-pitch-players-boxing-day-test/9282552

• https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cricket-world-cup-2019-is-officially-the-wettest-ever-trphvd023

• https://www.news18.com/news/sports/india-vs-pakistan-weather-update-manchester-world-cup-cricket-rain-australia-uk-afghanistan-2187683.html

• https://zeenews.india.com/cricket/cricket-world-cup-2019-here-are-the-matches-washed-out-due-to-rain-2211383.html

• https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/48593972

• https://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/12123/12029758/england-and-west-indies-trinidad-time-waster-in-1990-in-episode-two-of-pictures-from-paradise

• https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58b40fe1be65940cc4889d33/t/5a79bac853450a7495861454/1517927115822/Game+Changer.pdf

• https://www.quora.com/How-humidity-and-wind-play-important-role-in-cricket

• https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/photos/worlds-10-most-beautiful-cricket-grounds/basin-reserve-wellington-new-zealand

• https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/dec/09/england-australia-ashes-history-blown-away-doctor

• https://www.myweather2.com/blog/2013/07/the-ashes-weather-how-does-weather-affect-cricket/weather-effect

• https://www.pitchvision.com/how-to-improve-your-cricket-in-the-winter

• https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/pakistan-in-india-2012/top-stories/Its-just-too-cold-for-cricket/articleshow/17917754.cms