International cricket's players' association is calling for the game's governing body to introduce reserve days for all World Cup knockout matches, as rain threatens to ruin Australia's bid for home glory and the sport's attempt to create history.
Cricket Australia had raised the idea of a back-up day for the semi-finals but that was rejected by the International Cricket Council, meaning the host nation – by finishing second in the group – could be eliminated by South Africa without a ball being bowled on Thursday night. England could also suffer a similar fate in their afternoon semi against India.
Rain threatens to ruin Australia’s hopes of making the World Cup final.Credit:AAP
The chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Association Tom Moffat has called for the ICC to bring in a spare day to better safeguard against wet weather in knockout games at major events.
"Hopefully the weather holds off as it would be disappointing for fans and players not to see some of the pointy end of the event take place because of weather, especially after a positive event," Moffat told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
"We acknowledge the challenges with scheduling and logistics around global events, which take place in a condensed timeframe. For pinnacle global events we think there should be reserve days in the playing conditions for knockout matches."
There is a reserve day for the final but the ICC said it was not "feasible" to install one for the semis.
There was a reserve day for the men's World Cup last year when New Zealand upset India in a game played over two days.
"The ICC T20 World Cups are short, sharp events where reserve days are factored in for the final," an ICC spokesman said.
"Allowing for any other reserve days would have extended the length of the event, which isn’t feasible. There is a clear and fair alternative should there be no play in any of the semi finals with the winner of the group progressing."
CA chief Kevin Roberts said his organisation had raised the question of a reserve day with the ICC. CA had last month rejected ideas to relocate the Big Bash League final from Sydney to Melbourne due to the forecast for torrential rain. The rain held off and a washout was avoided.
Up to 200 mm was predicted for the day of the BBL final while 15-25 mm is forecast for Thursday.
"We've asked the question and it’s not part of the playing conditions. We respect that," Roberts said on radio station SEN.
"You want the match to be won and lost inside the ropes rather than won or lost based on the weather, don't you?
"We're optimistic based on the drainage at the SCG combined with the weather forecast that's not perfect but not terrible either. We're really hopeful and planning for different scenarios tomorrow night. The important thing is getting our team ready to play a 10-over match, 12-over match, 18-over match or whatever it happens to be if it’s not a full T20 contest."
Australia captain Meg Lanning was philosophical on the issue, saying there was nothing that could be done in this situation.
"Perhaps it’s something we can look at in future tournaments," Lanning said.
England captain Heather Knight said she was frustrated at the lack of a reserve day, describing the prospect of washed out semi-finals as "sad" for the event.
"It's obviously going to be a shame if it does happen and I'm sure there will be a lot of pressure on the ICC to change that," Knight said.
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