Cricket World Cup 2019: Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes questions logic of no reserve days
Steve Rhodes: "We put men on the moon, so why can't we have a reserve day?" (© ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2018)

BRISTOL: The topic of rain ruining cricket matches at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 threatens to become the overarching theme of the tournament, after a second consecutive match at Bristol’s County Ground was called off without a ball bowled.

After Sri Lanka vs Pakistan was abandoned here last week, on Tuesday (June 11) the match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was called off as rain had the final say. The chances of a full game were slim a day before, and come Tuesday the steady drizzle in Bristol forced the match officials to call it off at 13:57pm local time.

This means that Sri Lanka have had two washouts in a row, and two points to show for it. This is Bangladesh’s first abandoned match, and they now sit with three points on the World Cup table.

In between these two matches, on Monday the South Africa vs West Indies fixture in Southampton was called off after 7.3 overs were bowled.

(ALSO READ: Rain and injuries headline grim week in England)

While Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne felt that the ICC could possibly have included reserve days for the league stage of the World Cup, despite the logistical challenges, Bangladesh’s coach Steve Rhodes had no doubt that the provision could have been fit in.

“I know logistically, it would have been a big headache for the tournament organisers, and I know that it would have been difficult, but we have got quite a lot of time in between games, and if we have got to travel a day later, then so be it,” Rhodes told reporters after the washout.

“We put men on the moon, so why can’t we have a reserve day, when actually this tournament is a long tournament. They are spread out, the games. I would say that it’s disappointing for the crowd, as well. They have got tickets to see a game of cricket, and you know, it would be up to them if they can get there the day after.”

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh Bristol
The umpires called off Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh at Bristol on Tuesday. © AFP

Rhodes, an Englishman who played 11 Tests and nine ODIs for his country, understands the climate and the frustrations that come with such wet days.

“I think when you look, if you know the English weather, sadly, we’re going to get a lot of rain. We never know when the rain’s going to come. People from all over the world keep asking me whether it’s going to rain; I don’t know. But at the moment, we’re seeing some problems,” he said.

“Very frustrating. We really targeted this sort of game is two points, and I know that Sri Lanka would have fought very hard and no pushovers at all. But we do see it as one point lost, and that’s disappointing, but realistically, what can we do about it? Absolutely nothing. And now all we can do is win our games coming up, one at a time and just think of that, which is the next game West Indies and try and win that, and then win the next one after that. That’s all we can do. It’s out of our control, the way the weather is.”

Karunaratne had similar sentiments to Rhodes, but wondered how the ICC could have made it possible to extend a league stage that spans 45 matches.

“If they can put a reserve day, it’s fine, but I don’t think – you know, it’s a major tournament, we are playing nine games. I don’t think they can keep a reserve day for us, because after the next day, you have to travel the different venue, so it’s not easy. But I feel if they can put a result, it’s going to be a good final, good for all the spectators and everyone.

Karunaratne, whose Sri Lankan cricket team has been in Bristol since June 5 and looked on forlornly as rain ruined their two matches, the result is disappointing.

“As a team, we came here for play. I think sometimes you might think if you share the points, it’s fine,” he said. “But I think we don’t want to win our points freely. We want to play cricket and win games and gain the points. That’s what I think. I think, unfortunately, rain has – you know, raining all of the places. But well, we’re happy with the points and we are going for the next match.”

After a loss to New Zealand and a narrow win over Afghanistan, and now two washouts in Bristol, Sri Lanka will be desperate to get any sort of match on Saturday against Australia at Kennington Oval.

Bangladesh now travel to Taunton to face West Indies on June 17.