NOTTINGHAM: The India-New Zealand game at Trent Bridge on Thursday became the third match to be washed out without a ball being bowled in this World Cup (one more ended with barely 8 overs being bowled). That just two matches had been complete washouts in all previous Cups put together highlights the lack of preparation on the part of the organisers, which has left major stakeholders livid.
They are angry with the tournament’s scheduling at the start of June and not later, and with the fact that organisers haven’t invested in full ground covers for the World Cup.
“What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in England? Get some rain cover. That’s common sense. Why not for the grounds? Trent Bridge has a great hovercraft. The squares are covered. The drainage is great. Why don’t they have full ground covers?” a major stakeholder in this World Cup, furious that the India-New Zealand match couldn’t begin, told TOI.
It did not rain continuously in Nottingham on Thursday and a curtailed match was possible. But it had to be abandoned due to a wet outfield. It rained for 48 hours leading to the match day and the outfield could not dry up in time.
India ex-captain Sourav Ganguly, who is doing commentary in England, said, “Eden Gardens has a full ground cover. The funny thing is, we bought it from England. I wonder why England & Wales Cricket Board couldn’t get themselves a few of those.”
‘How much does a ground cover cost?’
The broadcasters of the tournament have been sitting frustrated at the turn of events. Three matches have been washed away and four (including those three) have ended up without a result.
“How much does a ground cover cost? Ask the BCCI because they bought a few of those ahead of the World T20 in March 2016. It wasn’t the monsoon season in India at the time but they still spent that money – around one crore per cover, I think. The India versus Pakistan match at Eden Gardens could take place only because there were full ground covers,” a senior cricket executive said.
The England Cricket Board (ECB) has clearly not been short of funds. Former BCCI president and now a member of parliament, Anurag Thakur, said that the budget allotted to ECB for hosting this 2019 World Cup has been three times higher than what India received for hosting the 2016 World T20. “I had taken this up with the ICC in the 2015 ICC board meeting in Barbados,” Thakur recalled.
Sources said ECB had asked for an increased budget because they wanted to buy office space in London to work on the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2019 ICC World Cup. “Renting in central London would’ve been a costlier proposition. ICC approved the budget even as BCCI argued against it. At three times the budget, they couldn’t invest in rain covers?” said the source.
Squabbling over rain forcing no-shows doesn’t end here. There are those who blame the scheduling of the World Cup, which they say has to do a lot more with the 2019 Ashes series that begin in the first week of August.
“June and July are the tricky months in England. That is why, every marquee home series in England begins after mid-July. Look at India’s tour of England last year. The one-dayers began on July 12 and the Tests were scheduled straight in August. That’s because it helps the ECB broadcaster. Even the World T20 in Australia next year is a risk. It’s scheduled in October. Australia’s best four cricketing months are November onwards. But that’s reserved for their home series,” said sources.
Scheduling aside, England is in a mess right now because of traveling spectators who had invested in this trip months in advance. “Money spent on ticket is last of our headache. We know there’ll be a refund. A 100% refund. ECB always guarantees that. But what about our flight tickets and hotel bookings? There’s no refund for that,” said a fan from Mumbai who arrived in England on June 8 and had reserved tickets for the India matches against Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
“Even the forecast in Manchester, the venue of the India-Pakistan encounter, is worrying. That’s one thing the English get it right, you know? Their rain forecast,” said a fan. Source : timesofindia