Is cricket sustainable in a changing climate?

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

Behind the humor seems to be right 2018 Climate Report Of all the major outdoor sports that rely on a field or pitch, “cricket will be worst affected by climate change.”

By some measures, cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, after football, with 2-3 billion fans. It is most widely accepted in countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and South Africa and the West Indies, which are also among the most vulnerable to extreme heat, rain, floods, droughts, cyclones, wildfires, and rising ocean levels related to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

As heatwaves become hotter, more frequent and more prolonged, cricket in developed countries such as England and Australia has also suffered. Warmer air can hold more moisture, leading to heavier rainstorms. Twenty of the 21 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.

This year, the sport faces the Indian subcontinent’s hottest spring in more than a century and Britain’s hottest day ever. In June, when the West Indies – a combined team mainly from English-speaking countries in the Caribbean – arrived in Multan, Pakistan for three games, the temperature reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit, even one of the hottest places on earth. One, also above average.

“Honestly, it feels like you’re turning on an oven,” said Akeal Hosein, 29, of West Indies, who and his teammates wore ice vests at halftime.

The Heat are not the only concern of cricketers. Just like the pitching and batting sport of baseball, cricket is not easy to play in the rain. In July, the West Indies dropped a match in Dominica and shortened the other matches in Guyana and Trinidad because of rain and flooding in the fields.

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

Competitions can last up to five days. Even a one-day race can stretch seven hours or more in blistering conditions. While the West Indies-India series kicked off on July 22 at 9.30am in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, it was sunny after rain, but players were still battered in the low 90s. Had to deal with 8 hours of sun exposure on the Queens Park Oval. Humidity above 60%.

According to the 2019 report on cricket and climate change, a professional hitter can produce the equivalent of running a marathon in one day. While marathon runners help dissipate heat by wearing shorts and vests, in cricket, wearing pads, gloves, and helmets can limit the ability to evaporate sweat in hot, humid conditions, and often without shade.

“Obviously, due to the weather conditions and the arrangement of the game, travel plans were disrupted due to rain, smoke, pollution, dust and heat,” said Darlinganga, a 43-year-old commentator and former West Indies captain. In partnership with the University of the West Indies, the impact of climate change on sport.

“We need to take action to deal with this situation,” Ganga said, “because I think we’ve passed the tipping point in some areas. We still have a chance to pull things back in other areas.”

The sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council, has yet to sign off United Nations Sport and Climate Initiative. The goal is for global sports organizations to reduce their carbon footprints to net zero by 2050, and to inspire the public to consider the issue urgently. While Australia has implemented high temperature guidelines, And more water breaks are generally allowed during races, there is no global policy for races in extreme weather. The Cricket Board did not respond to a request for comment.

A recommendation in the 2019 Climate Report to allow players to wear shorts instead of long pants to keep them cool when overheating seems like a common-sense idea. But it doesn’t fit well with the rigid customs of international cricket, or there seem to be many players who say their legs are more prone to brush burns and bruises from sliding and diving on hard surfaces.

“My knees are gone,” said Yuzvendra Chahal, 32, of India.

Still, with the extreme weather and the exhausting rostering schedule of various game formats, there are still problems inside and outside of cricket. British star Ben Stokes retires July 19, in one-day international format, said: “We’re not cars, you can fill us up with gas and let’s go.”

Coincidentally, Stokes’ retirement came as Britain had its hottest day ever, with temperatures rising above 40C or 104F for the first time. Such high temperatures could become the new normal, as climate scientists say, with England taking on South Africa for a one-day cricket match in the moderately cool northeastern city of Durham. Extra breaks, ice packs and beach-style umbrellas were used to keep players cool. Even with these precautions, Matthew Potts of England Leaving the game exhausted.

Aiden Markram of South Africa He was photographed with an ice pack on his head and an ice pack on his neck, with obvious distress on his face, as if he was engaged in a heavyweight fight. Some fans have reportedly fainted or sought medical attention, while many others have scrambled to find the thin shade.

South Africa also endured tax conditions on June 9 as it confronted India amid the heat, humidity and pollution in New Delhi. The high temperature index for an evening game was 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Part of the stadium was converted into a cooling area for spectators, with curtains, chairs and spray fans attached to plastic buckets.

“We’re used to it,” said Shikhar Dhawan, 36, one of the Indian captains. “I don’t really focus on calories because if I start thinking too much, I start feeling more.”

In India, cricketers are as popular as Bollywood actors. Even in sauna-like conditions, more than 30,000 spectators watched the game in New Delhi. “It feels great. Who cares about the heat?” Saksham Mehndiratta, 17, played in his first game with his father since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“It made me cold,” his father Naresh said after watching a good batting.

South Africa, however, missed the mark after the 2015 Tour of India, when eight players and two coaches and support staff were hospitalized in the southern city of Chennai in what officials said was a combination of food poisoning and heat exhaustion.

“It was a mess,” said Craig Govind, a physical therapist for the South African team.

On a recent tour of South Africa, Govender carried inflatable tubs to cool players’ feet; electrolyte capsules to use with meals; ice and magnesium slurries; and ice towels for shoulders, face and back. South African uniforms are ventilated behind the knees, seams and underarms. Players are weighed before and after training sessions. Monitor the color of their urine to prevent dehydration. During the June 9 game, some players jumped into ice baths to cool off.

In 2017, Sri Lankan players wear masks, locker rooms are equipped with oxygen tanks Against heavy pollution in a match in New Delhi. Some players vomited on the field.

In 2018, England captain Joe Root hospitalized Suffering from gastrointestinal issues, severe dehydration and heat stress during the famous five-day Ashes test in Sydney, Australia. At one point, the heat index tracker recorded 57.6 degrees Celsius or 135.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

The incident led Tony Irish, then president of the International Federation of Cricket Associations, to ask: “Are players going to fall on the field?” before the extreme heat policy imposed by cricket’s governing body.

Also in 2018, Indian players told to limit showers to two minutes while playing in Cape Town during prolonged drought There resulted in club and school cricket being cancelled.

In 2019, Sydney’s air gets so smoky during bushfire crisis Australian player Steve O’Keefe said it felt like “smoking 80 cigarettes a day”.

Climate change has touched every aspect of cricket, from batting and bowling strategies to Groundskeeper concerns about seed germination, pests and fungal diseases. even Lord’s, London’s old cricket groundIt was sometimes forced to relax its antiquated dress code, most recently in mid-July, when customers weren’t required to wear jackets in unprecedented heat.

Athletes are asked to “compete in an environment too hostile to human physiology”, Lord’s sustainability pioneer Russell Seymour wrote in a climate report last year. “Our love and appetite for sports can go into brutal territory.”

To be fair, some action has already been taken to help mitigate climate change. Games are sometimes started or rescheduled later in the day. Australia captain Cummins has begun installing solar panels on the roof of his local cricket club. Lord’s runs entirely on wind powerThe National Green Tribunal of India, a specialized body that addresses environmental concerns, has ruled that treated wastewater should be used to irrigate cricket fields, rather than supply of potable groundwater in short supply.

player on Royal Challengers Bangalore Club of Indian Premier League Wear green uniforms at some races to increase environmental awareness. Team members appeared in a climate video during this spring’s devastating heatwave, including a sobering fact: “This is the hottest temperature the country has faced in 122 years.”

However, some in the cricket world counter that climate change cannot be expected to be the most pressing issue in developing countries where everyday life can be a struggle. Countries where cricket is prevalent, such as India and Pakistan, are least responsible for climate change. The admonition is often heard that the rich, developed countries that emit the most greenhouse gases must also do their part to reduce those emissions.

“In the US, people are asking us not to use plastic straws while flying in private jets,” said Dario Barthley, a spokesman for the West Indies team.

Katie Bennett contributed research.

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