Cricket in the Changing Climate


Sri Lanka has lost the ICC Champions Trophy Semi-finals and many called it is the rain that supported Indian bowlers making conditions difficult to bat. The final has been restricted to T20 match most of the matches in this tournament have been affected by rain, but it is the summer in England that is not expecting this level of extreme raining. “Has Cricket also become a victim of Climate Change” questions climate experts..


Lots of play time has been lost due to rain © AFP

‘Cricket could be the worst affected sport due to Climate Change’ say climate change experts. They made this comment pointing out that Global Warming is changing the weather patterns making difficult to setup a match schedule avoiding rain as usual dry seasons are now get rains due to abnormal weather patterns.

The ICC Champions trophy held in England is also affected by rain. A number of Champions Trophy matches were abandoned and had been cut short. But it is not all as rain can change the playing conditions. For example, the moisture in the turf can help seamers to get movements and make it unplayable. Many commentators think the semifinal between Sri Lanka and India largely depend on the toss due to conditions aggravated by the rain.

However, this is the summer for England where traditionally they play Ashes series, but 2012 and this year the conditions reversed. It is reported that the England’s Met Department also called a special meeting of climate scientists and meteorologists next week to debate the possible causes of the UK’s “disappointing” weather over recent years, as reported by the Guardian newspaper. The report suggest there could be more to it than natural variability of weather as there are Washout summers. Flash floods. Freezing winters. Snow in May. Droughts. (

This is also the case in Sri Lanka. Wherever Sri Lankan team goes, there is rain, is now a common belief” as lots of matches played by SL were impacted by rain. Not only in Sri Lanka, wherever they go – West Indies, England, India, Australia – atleast few matches are either abandoned or shortened due to rain. There could be many reasons such as there are too many cricket matches being played nowadays and organizers find it hard to schedule it in rain free season. But the fact is all the main tournaments are pre-scheduled looking at the local Climatic Calender too. So where is the disconnect..??

Could it be Climate Change..?? 

“Though the data doesn’t show a major difference in annual rainfall, the spread of the rainfall patterns have clearly changed” says senior meteorologist Mr.Ananda Jayasinharachchi. He pointed out that extremity of the weather events has increase giving examples, when it rain – it downpours; and having experiencing longer drier period. “but changing of the beginning of rainy season could have been little shifted and the rains that comes, once in a while are sometimes due to low pressure conditions in Bay of Bengal” he pointed out.

The trends everywhere in the world shows that Climate Change is not just a myth, but real. More catastrophe’s are predicted, but South Asians will surely be disheartened that it impacts their favorite game – Cricket.

Forget about total abandonment of a match due to rain. Cricket is more vulnerable to changing climate factors – little bit of moisture can create an unexpected swing, a dried pitch will make it a spinners paradise. So Cricket is indeed a sport likely to feel effects of global warming more than any other sports. It could easily impact the results of the match as well, so can be considered as the future match fixer..?

This is not just an imagination. Scientists had studied during the Ashes series played in Australia in 2006/07, why it was noted that the typical characteristics of each Test ground appeared to be changing and that batsmen were tending to prevail over bowlers more than they might have done in the past. Manoj Joshi who was a university lecturer – has decided to analyse the results with climatic data.

The researcher made an interesting finding that when the series is held in Australia, the home side is statistically more likely to succeed after El Nino years, whereas the English team has a better record following La Nina years. This isn’t really a shock because La Nina years typically see wetter conditions with lower land-surface temperature, therefore better mimicking the conditions the English players are used to. El Nino years, however, tend to see lower-than-average rainfall and higher-than-usual land-surface temperature as per the discussion of the paper. (

So it is clear that even the South Asian’s favorite sports – the Cricket – will not be spared by the Climate Change. So take your action atleast on your personal capacity not to contribute to the Global Warming..!!

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