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Cricket hit by climate change: Time for ‘Heat Rules’, warns report

Cricket in Delhi was hit by smog when Sri Lanka toured India in 2017. (Source: File)

Cricket has been a sport always at the mercy of the weather gods. From the searing heat of Asia to the cool and windy conditions in the United Kingdom, players endure it all. However, a recent report from sports researchers and environmental academics has rung an alarm bell for the custodians of the game

“Hit for Six”, a report ( by British Association for Sustainable Sport and two universities) unveiled on Tuesday, which has been briefed to the World Cricket Committee names cricket as the sport that will be hardest hit by climate change.

The study conducted by sports researchers and environmental academics also urges cricket authorities to introduce “heat rules” including postponing games in response to climate change

The review also states that extra care should be taken for youngsters and budding cricketers and simultaneously calls for manufacturers to develop equipment that enhances airflow, as extreme heat becomes more common

“This is a wake-up call not just for cricket, but for all sport,” AFP quoted Russell Seymour, sustainability manager at Lord’s cricket ground in London

“Sportspeople are not by nature bystanders and we can and must react to avoid the crises approaching us

“For every player suffering, there are many more fans having to work and go about their daily lives in these increasingly harsh conditions,” he added

The “Hit for Six” report also shows how cricket-playing countries such as India and Australia are already being severely impacted by extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves and storms

The study notes how games in Australia have faced problems due to heat, while dire water shortages have hit a tour of South Africa

Going further it reveals how the changing climate is affecting batsmen and wicketkeepers, both increasingly susceptible to poorer performances due to the conditions

The authors also argue “safety-related heat stress guidelines” are now needed, and that more games may need to be postponed or rearranged to cooler times of the day

“Above 35 degrees (Celsius) the body runs out of options to cool itself,” said Mike Tipton, professor of human and applied physiology at the University of Portsmouth and one of the report’s authors

Various Instances:

In fact the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup (2019) was officially the wettest tournament of all time. It was the first real exhibition of the effects of climate change on cricket’s ecosystem (and economy).

In 2016, 13 IPL matches in Maharashtra were relocated due to the severe drought.

Then in 2017, Sri Lankan cricketers wore face masks to protect themselves from Delhi smog.

Currently, cricket and other sports are waging this battle in a far corner because at the end of the day it is only a speck in the war against climate change.