On This Day: Sun Delays Start of 1st ODI Between Pakistan And New Zealand in Gujranwala
Representative Image (© AFP)

Weather and cricket have had a love-hate relationship. The weather gods can, and have been known to call the shots, from time to time, on the fate of a match.

While rain has often played havoc either curtailing the duration of a match or at times, washing it out completely, sun has also intervened. Yup, though extremely rare, excessive sunlight has also affected the smooth conduct of matches at international and domestic levels in the past.

One such incident happened during New Zealand’s 1996-97 tour of Pakistan when the series opening ODI between the two nations, played on December 4, 1996, had to be curtailed to 46 overs a side.

The reason?

Bright sunlight compromising with the view of batsman.

As a result, the two umpires for the match, Khizar Hayat and Javed Akhtar, had to delay the start and consequently number of overs were reduced due to the time lost.

However, this wasn’t the only time that sunlight, yes, sunlight delayed/stopped play.

A year before this ODI, umpire Dickie Bird stopped play right 15 minutes before the tea-break during the first day of the fourth Test between England and West Indies at Old Trafford in 1995.

Apparently, the sunlight was being reflected into the park from a greenhouse adjacent to the ground and as per Bird, it was strong enough to impede the vision of the batsmen and thus the play couldn’t go on.

The more recent example of an international match being interrupted by excessive sunlight was during the first ODI between New Zealand and India in January 2019 at McLean Park in Napier.

During the 11th over of India’s chase, Shikhar Dhawan complained with the umpire about his inability to spot the ball while pointing to the sky.

The resulting glare was deemed to be affecting Dhawan’s vision and the two on-field umpires, Shaun Haig and Shaun George then decided to put the match on hold while awaiting for the sunlight to diminish.