ICC Women's T20 World Cup: Why no reserve day? - Explained
After rain washed out the semi-final between England and India and threatened to do the same to the Australia-South Africa encounter, the obvious question to ask is - why wasn't there any reserve day?
Why no reserve day at the first place?
Why wouldn't you have a reserve day for a World Cup semi-final? This is not for the first time that rain has spoiled cricket's party in a big match and stolen the focus from the action on the field to something outside the field, which is always unwanted.
With a total of 23 matches to be played within just two weeks in the Women's T20 World Cup, it was always going to be tough to have a reserve day. An ICC spokesperson defended the decision with the logic that the T20 World Cups are "sharp, short events".
"The ICC T20 World Cups are short sharp events where reserve days are factored in for the final. 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," was the defence.
If that is indeed the case, can't we cut down on the training days? In this very tournament, Bangladesh have played two games within three days. If keeping it sharp and short is indeed the objective, there are certainly better ways than to do away with the reserve day for the knockout and rob teams of a hard-earned opportunity.
No training days over no reserve days, any day.
Couldn't the venue have been changed?
In short, no. It is true that the Sydney Cricket Ground, which was picked to host the double-header semis, has a history of washouts. As late as February, the WBBL final - which at one point looked almost impossible to avoid a washout - hosted a truncated 12 overs a side game. In November last year, a T20I between Australia and Pakistan wasn't that fortunate.
But, we have to understand that there is a lot of money and preparation that goes into an international sporting event, let alone the semi-final of a global cricket tournament. The tickets are sold, the broadcasting equipment set up, ticket arrangement of all stakeholders made, pitch prepared and more such things.
In fact, Cricket Australia, possibly triggered by a potential exit for the Aussie team, made a polite inquiry of whether a last minute change of venue was possible, which was judiciously declined by the ICC.
"It's not part of the playing conditions and we respect that. We're optimistic based on the drainage at the SCG combined with a weather forecast that is not perfect but not terrible either," Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts. "We're really hopeful and planning for different scenarios tomorrow night but the important thing is getting our team ready to play a 10 over the match, a 12 over the match, an 18 over a match or whatever it happens to be if it's not a full 20-over contest," Roberts said.
Changing the host city on a short notice is thus almost impossible. Unless off course, a back-up venue is already part of the pre-tournament contingency plan.
Do Men's knockout games have reserve days?
Surprise, surprise! The men's T20 World Cup in October, too, doesn't have reserve days for the semis. You can only imagine how all hell could break loose if something similar is to pan out in a few months time. Clue: the men's tournament will also be hosted by Australia.
And, it is not as if a World Cup knockout, a semi-final, rain and cricket do not ring a bell. Remember, at the men's World Cup last year, both the semi-finals had reserve days. And we had to use one for the India-New Zealand match at Old Trafford.
So, it's not that there is some deep-rooted discrimination between men's and women's cricket. It is the general excellence to choose the wrong thing between two available options. The consistency is laudable though. Cue the boundary countback rule.
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