Climate change hitting Cricket for a Six!

I always breathe Cricket - Kapil Dev

I dont have to write about the fanaticism of Cricket as it is deeply rooted and embedded in Indian subcontinent culture and it requires no mention. As an apt anecdote, when it comes to outdoor games, a kid is always gifted a Football in most of the countries, whereas in India, its always about a bat and a ball.

Cricket has always been a sport at the mercy of the weather. We never know when a sudden downpour washes a game away or atleast decreases the playtime. From the dustbowls of Ahmedabad to the lush pastures of the Somerset levels, cricket is its environment. It affects the batting conditions, the way the ball moves, the choice of players on the field, the way the game is played.

“Whether it's Mumbai, Melbourne, Antigua or Lancashire, cricket is defined almost entirely by climatic conditions – if they change, so does the essence of the game.”

If we take a note of incidents from the the last few years, it suggests the scale of future challenges the game will have to face, and the risks of doing nothing. Last October Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean, this February the Western Province Cricket Association in South Africa cancelled all club and school cricket because of severe drought in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. In 2016, 13 IPL games were moved from Maharashtra as parts of the state endured their worst drought for 100 years, and the control of water became a legal issue this April when the Mumbai high court forbade the Maharashtra Cricket Association from receiving water from the Pavana dam for its matches in Pune. Last December, air pollution in Delhi during the India versus Sri Lanka Test resulted in players vomiting on the pitch and wearing face masks. Play was repeatedly held up and oxygen cylinders were brought into the dressing rooms.

India vs Sri Lanka, Delhi 2017

If we research about it in a little more detail, rising temperatures have led to higher sea levels, which in turn means bigger storm surges. Higher water temperatures lead to more evaporation of water into the air, and that means more rain and therefore a higher risk of flooding and hence games being affected across the world and especially in the United Kingdom. Whereas air pollution in India is something all of us are aware about.

A rain afflicted Cricket match

The Cricketing fraternity having an emotional and physical bond with the game requires a sense of responsibility and needs to take efforts in tackling climate change. That’s why the sport must take notice of a report published by Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest climate change action group, in February. The document names cricket as the sport that will be hardest hit by climate change in England, stating that "wet winters and more intense summer downpours are disrupting the game at every level". there is currently an example of the effect of extreme weather on cricket in Cape Town, which is in the midst of a severe drought with the city close to day zero when public water supplies will be switched off. At the roots of this wonderful game lies a lot of issues and leading all of them is Climate change due to global warming. As a cricket fan. i feel sad.

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