“It’s bit like watching Mary Poppins,” says the man at the bar in Southampton, making the reference to ‘Singing in the Rain’, the popular song from the eponymous musical. Mary Poppins popped in at Bristol as well, washing out the game between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — and more rain is expected to affect Taunton on Wednesday (Pakistan vs Australia) and Nottingham on Thursday (India vs New Zealand).
It hasn’t really bucketed down but it’s been persistent and heavy enough to be a killjoy — nagging, annoying, dampening. A country that obsesses about the contents thrown by the skies, where weather apps are one of the most used features in phones, is now threatening a few world cup dreams. And keeping a few nations’ hopes alive.
South Africa, who got a lucky point against the West Indies in Southampton, and Sri Lanka, who got two points from Pakistan and Bangladesh, are obviously happy.
“The horse has finally bolted,” said Faf du Plessis, referring to their first points in the tournament. Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka’s captain, too seemed pleased with the result.
The Met office, with a whopping 678k Twitter followers, issues warnings in colours. Yellow, for low-level impact, amber for increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather, and red, for dangerous weather. Thus far, it’s been yellow that has left a few teams like Bangladesh and Pakistan feeling the blues.
But will Pakistan view the game against Australia as a lucky or unlucky washout? A point lost or won? And what would be Australia’s point of view of such an eventuality? Not sure, but it’s a great loss to the fans who would have eagerly lapped up the contest. New Zealand have been playing well and India’s match against them at Nottingham, too, would disappoint many if it gets washed out.
In the bigger scheme of things, India might not be affected with one point from the game, but it also means that India would head to the contest with Pakistan without KL Rahul getting a gig as an opener, and Shikhar Dhawan’s replacement (Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik) not getting any match practice in the middle order.
The rain prompted Steve Rhodes, Bangladesh’s coach who hails from Worcestershire, to wonder why the ICC didn’t have reserve days to cover for the rain, especially when most countries have healthy breaks between games. “I know logistically it would have been a big headache for the tournament organisers and difficult, but we have got quite a lot of time in between games, and if we travel a day later, then so be it,” he said.
Explained | Why ICC can’t have a reserve day
After a pause, Rhodes added with a smile, “We put men on the moon, so why can’t we have a reserve day? If you know English weather, sadly, we are going to get a lot of rain.”
Rhodes was frustrated that Bangladesh had to share points with Sri Lanka, a game he was hoping his team would win. “Very frustrating. We really targeted this game for two points, and I know Sri Lanka are no pushovers but we do see this as one point lost, and that’s disappointing. And now all we can do is to win our games coming up. Weather is out of our control.”
Dimuth Karunaratne, too, talked about reserve day, though he did add: “But we are happy with the points”.
The Met office has predicted more rain for the eastern and southern England in particular, with the regions likely to see “long and persistent bad weather”.
Although this should come with a rider. England is a pretty small country and when someone in Southampton sneezes that “huh, the rain was supposed to go east,” you might feel as if he is talking about some remote area thousands and thousands of kilometres away, but he is just talking about a place that is a few train stations away. In actuality, as far as cricket venues spread across the country at least, you can theoretically be based in London and do up-and-down journeys on the same day. Barring a venue or two. It’s quire ridiculous, really, but also charming in some ways — this provincial character of a small nation. Back in the day, if only the colonised people had turned up to this country, they would have been gobsmacked to find that such a small country has been ruling them, but that’s a fictional pontification for another rainy day. Which might well be today and tomorrow, by the look of things. And keep an eye on Manchester where India and Pakistan are scheduled to play. Would Miss Poppins have an ironical end to the much-anticipated game of this tournament?