Bangladesh bemoan lack of reserve days after latest abandonment
Inclement weather in England and Wales is starting to become a major talking point
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Bristol county ground was abandoned. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes bemoaned the lack of reserve days at the World Cup after a tournament-record third abandonment in the space of five days.
The inclement weather in England and Wales is starting to become a major talking point after Bangladesh-Sri Lanka became the latest fixture to be rained off.
With rain continuing to fall at Bristol, a decision was taken to abandon the game without a ball being bowled shortly before 2pm — three-and-a-half hours after play was scheduled to begin — meaning both sides each took a point.
Rhodes said: “We really targeted this sort of game to get two points, and I know that Sri Lanka would have fought very hard and been no pushovers at all.
“But we do see it as one point lost and that’s disappointing. But realistically, what can we do about it? Absolutely nothing. It’s out of our control, the way the weather is.
“If you know the English weather, sadly, we’re going to get a lot of rain. We never know when the rain’s going to come. At the moment, we’re seeing some problems.
“I know logistically, it would have been a big headache for the tournament organisers, and I know that it would have been difficult, but we have got quite a lot of time in between games, and if we have got to travel a day later, then so be it.
“We put men on the moon so why can’t we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament?”
But International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said that factoring in a reserve day for every match would “significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically would be extremely complex to deliver”.
“It would impact pitch preparation, team recovery and travel days, accommodation and venue availability, tournament staffing, volunteer and match officials availability, broadcast logistics and very importantly the spectators who in some instances have travelled hours to be at the game. There is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either,” he said in a statement.
“Up to 1200 people are on site to deliver a match and everything associated with it including getting it broadcast and a proportion of them are moving around the country so reserve days in the group stage would require a significant uplift in the number of staff.
“We have reserve days factored in for the knock-out stages, knowing that over the course of 45 group games we should play the large majority.”
Richardson also emphasised the weather had been “extremely unseasonable”.
Rhodes was more upbeat on the prognosis of talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was a doubt heading into this clash because of a thigh injury he sustained against England at the weekend.
Rhodes added: “We’re very, very optimistic about the treatment that he’ll get this week and the way that he can recover well; we’re very optimistic that he can play in that next game against West Indies.”
The latest abandonment is the second to befall Sri Lanka, whose encounter with Pakistan suffered an identical fate at the same venue last week.
Despite two points being added to their tally, the equivalent of a win, Dimuth Karunaratne is adamant Sri Lanka — who very few are tipping to progress beyond the group stage — want to prove themselves.
The Sri Lanka captain said: “I think as a team, we came here to play. I think sometimes you might think if you share the points, it’s fine.
“But I think we don’t want to win our points freely. We want to play cricket and win games and gain the points.”
Sri Lanka will have had a playing gap of 11 days since beating Afghanistan when they take on Australia at the Oval this Saturday.
Asked whether their lack of action will hinder them, Karunaratne added: “Every game is a challenging game.
“We are trying hard. We played a practice game against Australia. We know how they are, and how they are going to play with us, so those are the things we have to look after.
“We keep planning and doing the right things and hopefully we can play a game.”