“Me again,” says Steve Pye. “I’m not sure I’ve changed much into my adult life. I recently told my colleagues that on the first day of every English cricket Test summer since 1994 I’ve always eaten a Toblerone. I don’t know why, I’m just odd. One of my colleagues turned to me and said, ‘How did you ever get married?’ Harsh, but probably fair.”
I didn’t know you worked with your wife. Honk.
“My least favourite washout was the Ashes at the Oval in 2013,” writes Guy Hornsby. “My cricket mad friend Mel was due to attend her first Ashes Test but our enthusiasm was gradually wrung out of us (literally) by torrential rain from before play. We never even sat in our seats. Obviously we found liquid ways to pass the time, but I’ll never get over the fact I missed Ian Bell make a not-quite-enough 43 off 145 balls in a drawn Test. There’s no justice.”
Pop quiz: what unusual feat did Ian Bell achieve during the 2013 Ashes? And who else achieved it in the same series?
I suspect the match will be officially abandoned at approximately 2.27pm. Even if it never rains again in Bristol, the outfield won’t be playable for a few hours.
“While I hope paying punters get to see a bit of cricket, I’m not sure I’d like to see a number of quasi-T20 group games that may determine which team gets to go through to the latter stages,” says Neill Brown. “An arbitrary draw, based on weather and/or the toss of a coin (at the end of the round robin), is a far better fit for cricket hosted in England. Also, if it all goes T20 and every ball is deemed sacred, we’ll be denied my new favourite thing in sport, namely Chris Gayle calmly, yet forcefully, refusing an easy single while he contemplates his next attempt to biff whatever comes his way over cow corner.”
I also like his extravagant, slow-motion leaves outside off stump, which he occasionally produces even in a T20 match.
Here’s our latest World Cup bulletin from Matthew Weaver.
“Afternoon Rob,” says Dave Adams. “Steve Pye’s question took me back to the early 90s too. I was about 14 at the time and I was aware that Hampshire were playing in Portsmouth that week in June/July. I legged it home from school and looked up page 340 on Ceefax. Hampshire were batting and David Ivon Gower was one of the not out batsmen.
“I rushed to the station, hopped on a train, and got to the ground only to find they’d just gone off due to what barely qualified as ‘light drizzle’. So I sat there, on my own, bored out of my mind until play was officially abandoned for the day with no further play possible. Great days.
“Obviously today there is no Ceefax, Hampshire don’t play in Portsmouth, and the weather app on my phone would’ve told me not to bother leaving the house. That’s progress, apparently.”
“I take it none of your readers today are South African,” says Andrew Cosgrove, “or they would all have emailed in with the infamous semi-final of the 1992 World Cup.”
The daftest thing about that game is the South Africa won the toss and elected to field. I’ve done some stupid things in my time, but none of th… actually, on reflection, quite a few of them have been more stupid than that. But it was still an exceedingly stupid decision to bat second given the rain rules in that tournament.
“Two days in a row?” sniffs Matt Dony. “I’m running a serious risk of being productive at work. Steven Pye’s have just struck a chord, though. Wondering why no one at school finds us attractive. If ever there was an OBO calling card, this it. Alan Partridge famously finished chapters of his book with, ‘Needless to say, I had the last laugh.’ From now on, I’ll probably finish most of my emails with, ‘And I wondered why no one fancied me in school…’”
Those lonely teenage years never leave you, eh, even when you’re happily grown up with three children and 12 wives.
Here’s Pete Salmon on the subject of exasperating rain delays
|Can’t believe no one has mentioned the semi final of the Ferntree Gully Cricket Association Thirds in 1990/91. We – Upwey – had snuck into fourth and rolled the undefeated top team, Ferndale for 82. ‘Horse Clarke’ finished with 6 for not many, and even I got a couple. We were 1 for 43 at stumps. High 30s all week, then the following Saturday it peed down the whole day. The next week, Ferndale beat Ferntree Gully – who we’d defated twice that year – in the Grand Final, to take the pennant, $200 cash and a meat tray. Still bitter.”
The cut-off time is 4.15pm. Those at the ground suggestt there is approximately 0.00 per cent chance of the match starting by then.
“Yuvraj Singh is the most impactful white-ball cricketer (perhaps even the greatest ever) to have played for India,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “Discuss.”
Well, I wouldn’t abuse you on social media for that opinion. Interesting that nobody really includes Gambhir in this discussion. (Most impactful, that is, not greatest.)
“Hi Rob,” says Steve Pye. “Not sure how I forgot the trauma of Trinidad in 1990 – that’s one for the amateur psychologists out there – but as soon as you mentioned that match, my heart sank. I was 14 at the time, and took the time to construct a tally chart with 151 lines on it to cross out during the run chase. And I wondered why none of the girls at my school found me attractive?!”
If only you’d been the boy in this advert, eh.
There’s plenty going on in the County Championship, including a lively counter-attack from the hugely promising Ollie Robinson at Canterbury. Get the latest news with Tanya Aldred.
“Your royal highness,” writes Sohid Ahmed. “Seeing there is no cricket imminent, can we talk about the most elegant left hander in the game who just announced his retirement? The one who took six sixes off Broad? A shame he did not get a proper farewell.”
The BCCI will organise a farewell match for Yuvraj, surely? Just in case you missed it, there’s a quite brilliant tribute to him on Cricinfo from Sharda Ugra.
“The Spin details the first modern ODI in 1987,” says Don Wilson, “but I seem to remember that the last truly old fashioned ODI, played in whites with a red ball, was in the late 90s, between India and Zimbabwe I think?”
The memory on you! It was December 2000 rather than the late 90s – but even so, I’m giving you full points.
The planned 12.15pm inspection has been postponed. I shan’t insult your intelligence by telling you why it has been postponed.
“The 2007 rain at Lord’s vs. India gets my vote,” says Matt Salkeld, on the subject of exasperating examples of cricketus interruptus. “Personally though, the rain-affected Saturday of the Lord’s Test against NZ in ‘90 sticks in my mind. It was my first-ever match and my 13-year old self was not long on patience. As it turned out, the drizzle was standing between me and the enjoyment/torment of a nuggety 185-run opening partnership between John Wright and Trevor Franklin. NZ’s eight-foot, big-jawed opening bat was not in expansive mood, as his strike rate of 32 showed…”
You should have seen him at Bengaluru in 1988. Mind you, it’s hard to begrudge him even a single dot ball after his leg was shattered by a motorised luggage trolley at Gatwick during the 1986 tour.
“Dear Rob,” writes Varun Mathure. Thought it was worth sharing that if Bangladesh v Sri Lanka is called off it would be the seventh time (eighth if you include the India v Sri Lanka semi-final game from CWC ‘96) that a game involving Sri Lanka at the World Cup would be either abandoned or not take place due to extenuating circumstances (again ‘96 and the two walkovers against Australia and West Indies).
“Outside of that little tidbit, whilst the weather gods have been particularly unfavourable this year, I am incredulous that there seems to be no planning from the ICC on how to prevent the tournament not being majorly influenced by the weather. This would be the third washout and we could easily see that number rise to five by the end of this week. No wonder then that we are seeing the game lose out on public interest and ECB coming up with the bemusing idea of the Hundred in an effort to keep the masses engaged.”
I suspect the weather has caught them cold (and wet, and miserable, etc). I don’t know enough about the logistics of reserve days to know whether they were a realistic option, but I do have sympathy for the ICC given this could be the wettest June in history. And at least the rain delay allows you to feed tasty tidbits to the OBO community.
“Hi Rob, I’m a cricket fan from Spain,” says Carlos Pérez. “I’m travelling with my brother to Chester-le-street to watch Sri Lanka v South Africa on the 28th. I’m scared!! It’s going to be my first time watching cricket live and I don’t want the game to be rained off!! Let’s organise the World Cup in sunny Spain instead, shall we?”
I wouldn’t worry. The weather has been so contrary of late that you’ll probably have a Durham heatwave.
“Morning Rob,” writes Matt Emerson. “I’m old enough to clearly remember the 1980 Centenary Test at Lord’s, when the rain interruptions led to umpire David Constant being assaulted by an MCC member and Greg Chappell being shocked, shocked! by the members’ language. Yes, that Greg Chappell. A fuller account is here.”
“Kind Sir,” writes John Barnes. “Everyone is questioning the wisdom of a World Cup in England with our unpredictable weather – which makes me wonder the following: how many games in previous World Cups staged in England were washed out? We’ve held it f0ur times so it can’t be a horrendous amount that have been lost.”
They had reserve days in all of the previous tournaments. There was still one washout in 1979, Sri Lanka v West Indies, and another in 1999 (Zimbabwe v New Zealand).
“I thought you might be bored,” writes professional mindreader Steve Pye, “so I thought I’d try and start some kind of discussion related to cricket and rain. When were you most frustrated by a weather interruption in cricket? As an England fan, bad light at Lord’s against India in 2007 springs to mind. This was also frustrating at the time. England leading South Africa by 289 with three wickets left, against a strong South African team, only for rain to wash out the last day.”
Trinidad 1990, always. England would have been 2-0 up with two to play, and a draw away from the biggest upset in cricket history. Any others?
Here’s David Peters, with a question inspired by today’s Spin
“I’ve been wondering (‘though India won, Mahanama was the man of the match’), how often is a player from the losing team named Man of the Match?”
From memory, though I’d need to check this, it has happened 66 times in Tests, 245 times in ODIs and 18 times in IT20s.
There will be an inspection at 12.15pm. Meanwhile, here’s some more injury news.
“Is there anything in the rules preventing India from replacing Dhawan and then bringing him back three weeks later?” says Ian Forth, who didn’t get the salutations memo.
Yes, there is – when you replace a player it’s for life, not just for Christmas. They could theoretically bring Dhawan back in to replace another injured player, but that injury would need to be verified by the ICC. Which reminds me, I need to finish my screenplay about an unused squad member at a Cricket World Cup who is attacked by a hatchet man armed with only a pair of pliers and a clear understanding of the ICC regulations regarding the replacement of injured players.
“Sir,” says Sanjay Pareek, who could TEACH THE REST OF YOU A THING OR TWO ABOUT SALUTATIONS, “what time will the match start?”
No time has been set for an inspection, never mind for the match to start. I would say the likeliest scenario is that it will be washed out, as light rain is forecast for most of the day.
“The ICC should have considered the English weather conditions before organizing such a huge cricketing event at this point in time,” says Iqbal Rehan, “as the results may not be the true reflector due to limited opportunities to the teams because of rain.”
I have a fair bit of sympathy for the ICC, because this is forecast to be the wettest June in history, and you can’t really plan for that. I suppose they could have had Michael Fish on the organising committee.
There has actually been a prompt start in a few of the County Championship games. Get the latest news with the irritatingly brilliant Tanya Aldred.
“Isn’t keeping Dhawan a no-brainer?” asks Andrew Hurley. “Rahul opens, and they have a couple of middle order options. They have also already beaten Australia so they have already some margin for error in their games against the other top teams. “
Yes, completely agree. Unless he’s out for six weeks it would verge on weird for them to replace him, and nobody wants to verge.
The forecast for the next few days is not exactly life-affirming, although it does get better towards the weekend. India v New Zealand looks like it will be washed out.
Wednesday Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
Overcast changing to light rain in the afternoon
Thursday India v New Zealand, Trent Bridge
Yellow weather warning: rain
Friday England v West Indies, Southampton
Cloudy changing to light showers by late morning
Saturday Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
Cloudy changing to sunny intervals by late morning
Saturday South Africa v Afghanistan, Cardiff
Cloudy changing to sunny intervals by late morning
Sunday India v Pakistan, Old Trafford
Sunny intervals changing to light showers by late morning
Weather latest It’s still wet, it’s still not happening. Ach. Imagine scheduling a World Cup in England during the rainy season.
And if you’d like to read about the first truly modern ODI, a match that went unnoticed at the time, this week’s Spin will make you happy.
If you’d like to follow the rain in other parts of the country, with the occasional interruption by cricket, here’s our county blog.
Injury news Indian’s ICC tournament specialist Shikhar Dhawan suffered a fractured thumb against Australia on Sunday and will be out for an unspecified period of time. There is talk of India replacing him. To me, that would be daft. They would qualify for the semi-finals if they had me opening the batting in his place, so surely they should keep him in the squad on the assumption he’ll be fit for the knockout games. The first semi-final isn’t until 9 July.
Some pre-match reading
I say pre-match. I’ll level with you: I’m not sure there’ll be a match!
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s daily weather report, also known in some cultures as the Cricket World Cup. We’ve had two washouts in the last four days, and things don’t look too pretty in Bristol this morning. Brizzle is made for mizzle and drizzle, but sadly the weather in the last 24 hours has more of a phonetic connection with somewhere like Teresópolis.
Yes, I know it’s an imperfect rhyme. I’m doing my best. Come on, work with me here!
There are some games, in football parlance, when both sides are happy to take a point. Bangladesh v Sri Lanka is not one of them. Both teams will have marked this as a must-win if they are to reach the semi-finals. Either that or they marked it, ‘Will probably pour down, reluctantly accept a point’, in which case they are meteorological visionaries.
The match starts, in theory, at 10.30am.