Umpires allowed to call off play in case of extreme heat

The players’ health must not be compromised. Their safety is of utmost importance.

Joe Root
Joe Root, Captain of England. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Cricket is an outdoor sport. It’s surroundings and the weather can play a major impact in the outcome of the game. The conditions favour the home team as they would have practiced in those conditions and get used to it. The visiting teams find it difficult many times to survive in overseas conditions due to various factors. However fit a player maybe, it is difficult to cope up with contrasting weather conditions. Thus, it is not possible to maintain the same level of efficiency in all the weather conditions. One player may find it easy in cold weather while the other may be adapted to extreme heat conditions.

A game can usually be called off due to rain or poor visibility. Recent incidents on the field, however, have made it all the more important for the ICC to alter this rule. In the India-Australia ODI series, Peter Handscomb found it difficult to stay in the middle and lost 4.5 kgs in the extreme heat. The Aussies found it very difficult to survive in extreme conditions. In the India-Sri Lanka series, the play was called off due to poor air quality. And most recently, cricket’s apex council was criticized for lack of ‘heat policy’ after Joe Root was sent to a hospital in the recently-concluded Ashes.

The decision abide by the Laws of Cricket

In the MCC World Cricket committee meetings held in Sydney on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was confirmed that in extreme heat Umpires are allowed to suspend play and it would be within the Laws of Cricket. In the 5th test of the Magellan Ashes 2017, temperatures soared to record highs on the fourth day of action, with weather stations near the Sydney Cricket Ground recording 43.4 to 43.7 degrees. These are extreme conditions for cricket and Umpires would be better off by calling off the play.

The players’ health must not be compromised. Their safety is of utmost importance. Whatever be the situation of the game, if it is necessary to pause the game then the Umpires must not be hesitant. This is for the betterment of the game and would go a long way in playing a positive impact on cricket. It is also a welcome change for the overseas teams visiting the subcontinent for long tours.