A recent study by the Climate Coalition, England’s largest climate change action group, tapped cricket as being the sport most affected by climate change. It found that “wetter winters and more intense summer downpours are disrupting the game at every level”.
Glamorgan Head of Operations Dan Cherry, agreed that inclement weather could “fundamentally change the game”. “The less cricket we play, the fewer people will watch it, the less they will come to the ground and pay to enter, the less chance there is for young people to be inspired,” said Cherry.
Since 2000, 27% of England’s one-day internationals have experienced delays or reduced innings due to rain. Rain delays are picking up momentum too as the rate of matches affected by rain has doubled since 2011 with a disturbing 5% of matches being abandoned due to poor weather.
One way that stadiums are using to mitigate the effects of climate change is through improved drainage systems. With a £600,000 grant from the ECB, the Trent Bridge, Swalec and Headingley stadiums are renovating their outfields with new drainage systems that are better able to deal with deluges.
Said Steve Birks, who will be overseeing the pitch at Trent Bridge: “The drainage at Trent Bridge is now second only to Lord’s. It can take up to 25mm per hour in most places on the square. Beforehand, it was just a clay-based outfield with land drains in. Now it’s got a rootzone up to 150mm, drains every five meters, and pop-up sprinklers in between drainage. It really takes it away.”
Hopefully the new drainage systems will mean fewer delayed, abandoned and reduced-innings games so fans and players can get the most out of the summer season.