India, New Zealand look to move beyond Trent Bridge dampener
New Zealand have a six-day gap before they play South Africa at Edgbaston, while India head to Manchester to face arch-rivals Pakistan. (AFP Image)

NOTTINGHAM: After more than five hours of circumspection, failed inspection and abrupt rainfall, the officials finally called off the India-New Zealand game, the fourth such outcome of the World Cup 2019, when a game was abandoned without a single ball being bowled.

For India, they are now placed third on the table behind Australia, whereas New Zealand at the top with seven points. But while both teams have secured a place in the top-half of the leaderboard, the fact that rain added one more match to its hit-list not only robs them of a possible win, but also threatens to take away the winning momentum. ALSO READ: India, New Zealand share points after yet another washout

There’s only so much one can do when it comes to weather. The ICC continues to receive flak but when has weather ever been controllable? Last year in England witnessed the hottest summer – there were heat waves in the country. No one could have predicted four of 18 matches being washed out just a year later.

New Zealand have a six-day gap before they play South Africa at Edgbaston, while India head to Manchester to face arch-rivals Pakistan. Ahead of such crucial fixtures, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead and R Sridhar, India’s fielding coach insisted that it was important to move on from what transpired at Trent Bridge and concentrate on the next task that lay ahead.

“It would have been lovely to play. It’s always tough mentally, I think on a day like this, when you come down prepared to play, and it doesn’t happen. But as you said, it’s out of our control. We can’t really do much about it, so we’ve got to move on quickly for South Africa,” Stead said after the washout.

“If you took the UK summer from last year, then I’m not sure it did rain at all from the sound of things. It’s a bit of bad luck really. It can rain anywhere in the world. My first tour was in Dubai, and it rained there in the desert, and I never thought it was going to rain there either. So I don’t think we can really help that.”

For the most part of the day, the pitch remained covered with rain coming down in small passages. But more than rain, it was the wet outfield that prevented the match from taking place. The last three days in Nottingham have witnessed insurmountable rain, which left the ground unplayable. India’s assistant coach shed some light on its condition, comparing it to a skating rink.

“Yeah, it is frustrating to wait in the dressing room on a rainy day. It’s a challenge for the players and the support staff to switch down but not really switch off, because the match could start at any time, so keep yourself prepared in the back of the mind. At the same time, not think too much about the game and keep yourself a little busy,” he said.

“It’s uncontrollable, isn’t it? You really can’t control the weather, so we’ve had two good games. We came here looking forward to the third good one, but unfortunately, we can’t control the weather. I went on the ground. It was almost like a skating rink. So it would put too much risk on the players to play on there, especially at the early phase of the tournament.”

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhoades had pointed out the importance of reserve days during a tournament as big as the World Cup, asserting that it could have come handy. Dave Richardson, the ICC chairman replied to that saying having a reserve days required plenty of planning and throws up plenty of logistical challengers, a thought echoed by Stead.

“Reserve days, I think, is going to be a logistical nightmare. The ICC, I think, have made that fairly well-known. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of an anomaly already. When you look at the amount of days we’ve lost already, I think it’s the biggest sort of amount of days lost in a World Cup ever. So we can’t do much about that. We just have to, I guess, push on with what the schedule is,” he said.

Since India and New Zealand remain the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament, Thursday’s match had every potential to be a mouth-watering clash. On top of that, New Zealand had beaten India in a warm-up game before the tournament officially kicked off, adding more spice to the contest.

“I’m not sure we found the measure of India necessarily. I think the warm-up games were a chance for us to get back together as a team, but we’re acutely aware it had no bearing on what was going to happen today,” said Stead. “But as I said, we would have loved to have played India today. They’re obviously going hot, and we feel as though we’re playing reasonably well as well, so it would have been a really nice match-up.”