Sunday 29 November 2015

Ground, Weather and Light

Should rain interrupt play, involve the Captains and use the Laws and Playing Conditions to get as much play as possible. If they disagree the following guidelines may be helpful:

Ball or grass wet and slippery – there should be no delay in starting or suspension of play just because the ball or grass is wet and slippery. Always carry a small towel and ensure sawdust is available during the day. (This should have been one of the pre-match requests so the groundsman).

Reasonable footholds – if the bowlers have reasonable footholds, the fielders (within 30 metres) have the power of free movement and the batsmen can play their strokes and run between wickets, then there should be no suspension or delay in restarting the match. Similarly, small areas of surface water in the outfield should not hold up play.

Bowler’s run ups – notwithstanding that the bowler’s footholds in his delivery stride may be acceptable, the area of the bowler’s run up to a distance of 10 to 15 metres from the stumps should be dry enough to run on without slipping or sliding. Again, ensuring sawdust is available will help keep the game going.

Wet pitch – particular care and attention must be paid to the pitch area. If the whole pitch is damp there is a possibility that play could take place providing the factors above are taken into account. In all likelihood the pitch will play consistently. If however there is a mixture of very wet and dry patches the umpires should take extra care not to start play when there could be an obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire. As a general rule, if you can easily push your thumb about 1.27cm (½ in.) into the pitch, it will be unfit for immediate play. In those situations you should be making frequent inspections to monitor both the drying of the pitch and any improvement in weather conditions. Whilst it is not primarily the umpires’ duty to decide how the pitch will play, we need to be fully aware of our duty of care to the participants. Also there should be no pressure on the umpires to ensure that conditions are the same for both sides. Your only decision is as to whether it is safe for play to take place.

Showery conditions – umpires must be willing to persevere through showery conditions. If there is a possibility of the shower passing over, umpires should endeavour to play on even though it might get heavy for a minute or so. Consultation with your partner will be necessary to ensure that conditions do not get so slippery that bowlers and batsmen have difficulty in keeping their feet.

Obviously the onset of a thunderstorm or heavy rain will see an immediate cessation of play and it may be the best option to try to get the pitch covered quickly so that play may resume at a later stage. With regard to a restart of play in very light rain after an interval – umpires should consider whether in the same conditions they would have suspended play. If not, they should make every effort to commence after the interval in the same conditions.

Bad light – light conditions can be governed by background, trees, buildings, sightscreens etc. and can also vary quite radically from one end of the pitch to the other. Conditions that may have been satisfactory when a slow bowler is on need not necessarily be considered satisfactory when a fast bowler is operating and vice versa. It is impossible to lay down a general standard but to err on the side of caution is the better alternative. Law 3.9 requires careful study and the umpires have been given a duty of care to protect the players of both sides. The safety of umpires is also a consideration. You should consider conferring during an over which may give the fielding Captain a hint on your thoughts. This could bring about more cricket being played with the introduction of slower bowlers.

Finally in evaluating the conditions of ground, weather and light the state of the game is irrelevant in arriving at a decision.

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