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Could climate change decide the series between England and Pakistan?

17 May, 2018

The arrival of a new summer in England marks the beginning of a new cricket season.

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For many years, the English climate has been the perfect fit for cricket because of the late evenings and moderate temperatures. However, that's changing. England has always been renowned for its rain but the volume of it has increased, which has played havoc with domestic and international cricket - six of the seven wettest years in UK history have occurred since 2000. 

Last year alone, rain-affected T20 Blast fixtures cost county clubs up to £1m due to all the postponements and cancellations. The One Day International scene has also been badly impacted, with the number of rain-affected games doubling since 2011. As recently as 2015, the One-Day Cup programme was hit by bad weather, with six out of seven games being called off on the same day. There can be no conjecture or spinning of the facts; cricket in England is being hampered by rain in the summer like never before.

Trent Bridge is leading the way when it comes to combating England's worsening weather, with the installation of drains every five metres to carry excess water to the sewers. This type of innovation will ensure that cricket will go ahead at Nottingham despite the increase in inclement weather. According to the infographic below, the drainage at Trent Bridge is second to only Lord's, with the introduction of a 150mm layer of gravel below the soil assisting drainage.

 

 

 The Nottingham ground can absorb 25mm of rain an hour, which makes this the ideal venue to host with the looming onset of poor weather becoming more of a reality. The ECB have gambled by not making Trent Bridge one of the venues for the short test series against Pakistan, given the fact that any interruptions will be severely felt as it is only a two test series.

Pakistan come into the series with their own dark clouds hanging over their star bowler Mohammed Amir after suffering an injury against Ireland which was related to his ongoing chronic knee problem.

Should Amir be injured against England, then the only hope for Pakistan may be bad weather, as the English rain comes to the rescue and gives them a draw. Approximately 16,000 overs have been lost to bad weather during the County Championship over the last 10 years, so Pakistan may have the weather gods on their side and they will need them. In 2016 Pakistan and England played to a drawn series, where a 24-year old Amir shone under gloomy skies.

This isn't the first time Pakistan have been dealt a major injury blow to one of their bowlers before an important series or tournament. In 2015 a pelvis injury ruled Mohammed Irfan out of the World Cup and Pakistan were poorer for it.

Shane Watson may have been wary of Pakistan before they faced off in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2015 without Irfan but, in the end, it wasn’t enough as Pakistan’s bowlers didn’t do enough without one of their big players. Pakistan will be desperate for Amir to have the Duke ball in hand.

The Men in Green will be hoping that they don’t suffer a similar fate as the opening Lord's Test starts on the 24th of May.

Amir has previously vowed to come back stronger from bigger challenges in his career and he will need to show the same determination and courage to get through this setback.

Pakistan will be singing in the rain should it come and Amir is not fit. England's bleak weather patterns over the years suggest rain will play a part at some stage. The only solution is to have fixtures played at grounds where specialist drainage systems are on standby to help minimise disruptions. When more venues start following Trent Bridge's lead, it will guarantee the outcome of any test series is down to performance and not precipitation.


 
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