Cricket Pics – Wearing pads, gloves and sometimes a helmet limits a player’s ability to evaporate sweat in hot conditions that often lack shade. Credit… Anindito Mukherjee for the New York Times

The joke is, if you want rain in this wetter-than-usual Caribbean summer, just start a cricket match.

Cricket Pics

Cricket Pics

Beneath the humor is an apparently tacit acceptance of the 2018 Climate Report’s claim that of all the major outdoor sports that rely on pitches or fields, “cricket is the most severely affected by climate change”.

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In some ways, cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after football, with two to three billion fans. And it is most adopted in countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa and the West Indies, which are also the most vulnerable places to extreme heat, rain, floods, droughts, hurricanes, forest fires and the sea. increase in levels associated with anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Cricket in developed countries such as England and Australia will also be affected as heatwaves become hotter, more frequent and last longer. Warm air holds more moisture, resulting in heavier rainfall. 20 of the 21 warmest years have occurred since 2000.

This year the sport has faced the warmest spring in Peninsular India in more than a century of record keeping and the hottest day on record in Britain. In June, when the West Indies – a team from mainly English-speaking Caribbean countries – arrived in Multan, Pakistan for three games, the temperature reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than the average even for one of the hottest places on Earth.

“Honestly, it felt like you opened an oven,” said Akeal Hosein, 29, of the West Indies, who wore ice vests during breaks with his teammates.

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South African cricketers take a water break during their match against India at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi in June. It has been the Indian subcontinent’s warmest spring in more than a century. Credit… Anindito Mukherjee for the New York Times

India’s Shreyas Iyer in action during the game. To cope with the heat, some players have worn ice vests during breaks. Credit… Anindito Mukherjee for the New York Times

Heat is hardly the only concern for cricketers. Like the similar pitching and batting area of ​​baseball, cricket cannot be easily played in the rain. In July, the West Indies abandoned a match in Dominica and abandoned other games in Guyana and Trinidad due to rain and waterlogged pitches.

Cricket Pics

The eight-match series between the West Indies and India concludes on Saturday and Sunday in South Florida as the height of the hurricane season approaches in the Gulf and Atlantic. In 2017, two Category 5 storms, Irma and Maria, damaged cricket stadiums in five Caribbean countries.

Cricket Player Pictures

Matches can last up to five days. Even one-day matches can be extended in blisters of seven hours or longer. While the rain eased for the West Indies-India series opener on July 22 at 9:30 a.m. in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the players had to contend with eight hours of sunshine at Queen’s Park Oval, with temperatures reaching the 90s and humidity above 60%.

According to the 2019 Cricket and Climate Change Report, a professional batsman playing for a day can generate heat equivalent to running a marathon. While marathon runners help dissipate heat by wearing shorts and shirts, in cricket the use of pads, gloves and helmets limit sweat evaporation in hot, humid conditions that often lack shade.

“It’s pretty clear that travel plans are disrupted by weather conditions, game schedules, rainfall, smoke, pollution, dust and heat,” said Daren Ganga, 43, a commentator and former West Indies captain who studies the impact of climate change on sports with the University of the West Indies. .

“Measures need to be taken to deal with this situation,” Ganga said, “because I think we’re past the tipping point in some areas. We still have a chance to pull things back in other areas.”

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The International Cricket Council, the sport’s governing body, has yet to sign the UN Sport and Climate Initiative. The goal is for global sports organizations to reduce their carbon footprint to zero by 2050 and inspire the public to tackle the issue as soon as possible. Although heat guidelines are in place in Australia and multiple water breaks are usually allowed during matches, there is no global rule for extreme weather conditions. The Cricket Board did not respond to a request for comment.

“It’s like burying your head in the sand, denial,” David Goldblatt, the British author of the 2020 report on sport and climate change, said of the advice. “Cricket really needs to get its act together. A whole host of problems are not far off really.

The 2019 climate report’s recommendation that players be allowed to wear shorts instead of trousers to keep cool in the heat may sound like a common sense idea. But that hasn’t gone down well with the starchy mores of international cricket, and apparently with many players who say their feet are even more prone to brush burns and bruises from slipping and diving on hard pitches.

Cricket Pics

A bystander stood next to a mist fan and wiped the sweat from his face. Games can go on for days, challenging fans and players alike. Credit… Anindito Mukherjee for the New York Times

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In July, cricket lovers sat in the sun in Durham, England to watch a match between England and South Africa. Credit… Oli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Nevertheless, questions are being raised both within and outside the sport about the sustainability of cricket in extreme climates and the grueling planning of different formats of the game. On July 19, England star Ben Stokes pulled out of the one-day international format, saying: “We are not cars where you can fill us with petrol and go.”

Coincidentally, Stokes’ retirement came as Britain recorded its hottest day on record, with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, for the first time. As climate scientists say such heat could become the new normal, England modestly hosted an all-day cricket match against South Africa in the cooler northeastern city of Durham. Extra water breaks, ice packs and beach-style umbrellas were used to keep the players cool. Even with these precautions, England’s Matthew Potts left the match exhausted.

Aiden Markram from South Africa was photographed with an ice pack on his head and another around his neck, his face looking distressed as if he had been in a heavyweight fight. Some fans were reported to have passed out or sought medical attention, while many others struggled with thin slices of shade.

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South Africa also endured grueling conditions on June 9 when they faced India in the heat, humidity and pollution of New Delhi. The heat index for the evening game was 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Part of the stadium was turned into a spectator cooling zone with curtains, chairs and mist fans attached to plastic containers with water.

“We are used to it,” said Shikhar Dhawan, 36, one of India’s captains. “I don’t really focus on the heat because if I start thinking about it too much, I start to feel it more.”

In India, cricketers are as popular as Bollywood actors. Even in sauna-like conditions, the match in New Delhi was attended by over 30,000 spectators. “It feels great. Who cares about the heat?” said 17-year-old Saksham Mehndiratta, who attended the first match with his father since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket Pics

But South Africa took no chances after the tour of India in 2015, when eight players and two members of the coaching and support staff were taken to a hospital in the southern city of Chennai due to what officials said was a combination of food poisoning and heat. exhaustion.

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A worker filled water bottles for spectators at a match at the Riverside Cricket Ground in Durham, England. Credit… Oli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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For the recent tour of South Africa, Govender brought in inflatable tubs to cool the players’ feet; electrolyte capsules for meals; ice and magnesium slurries; and ice towels for shoulders, face and back. South Africa’s uniform was aired behind the knees, along the seams and under the arms. Players were weighed before and after training. The color of their urine was monitored to guard against dehydration. During the June 9 game, some players jumped into ice baths to cool off.

“Global warming is already wreaking havoc on our sport,” Pat Cummins, captain of Australia’s five-day Test cricket team, wrote in Britain’s Guardian newspaper in February.

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In 2017, Sri Lankan players wore masks and oxygen tanks were available in the dressing room to counter the heavy pollution during the match in New Delhi. Some players threw up on the field.

England captain Joe in 2018