England v Australia, 2nd Twenty20, Old Trafford September 1, 2009

Abandonment deepens Lancashire's gloom

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Old Trafford's damaged reputation as an international venue suffered a further setback on Tuesday evening, when the second Twenty20 international between England and Australia was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to waterlogged bowlers' run-ups at the Brian Statham End of the ground - leading to an ECB investigation into an untimely embarrassment for the sport, as well as recriminations among Lancashire's beleaguered executive.

Heavy afternoon rain in Manchester meant that the match was always likely to be under threat, just like Sunday's first Twenty20, which was abandoned after seven balls of England's reply. Umpires Nigel Llong and Peter Hartley conducted their first inspection at the scheduled start time of 7pm, and though the weather cleared sufficiently for all the covers to be removed from the pitch, they announced the abandonment one hour later, after a second inspection, much to the frustration of a capacity Lancashire crowd.

"This is a disaster that could have been avoided, and I'm angry and bitterly disappointed," Lancashire's chief executive, Jim Cumbes, said. "Angry because, to my mind, we were told when we started playing Twenty20 cricket that you should be expected to play in conditions that you wouldn't normally be expected to in first-class cricket, which I understand and accept.

"If that had been Lancashire against Yorkshire with 16,000 people, we would have been playing. That's my honest opinion," he added. "If we can't do that at international level - and I accept, if that's the case, fine, then let's not play it at international level - you are going to meet those conditions more often than not, especially in this country."

The problems arose due to a torrential afternoon thunderstorm, which was followed by steady showers until around 6pm. When the covers were finally removed there was a soft area just behind the stumps, right in the take-off zone for the likes of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Broad, at the area where the pitch cover and the sheeting met.

"Why should a two-metre square area stop a game of cricket?" asked Cumbes. "That's my point exactly, I don't think it should have. I don't think it was unsafe, I don't think there's any explaining to do, and the ground did not tread water."

The umpires inspected on two occasions and told the captains, Paul Collingwood and Michael Clarke, that they thought conditions weren't fit before play was abandoned to the sound of booing at 8pm. The ground authorities hadn't even bothered turning the floodlights on, a sure sign that there were serious doubts about the contest all along. It completed a depressing double whammy for Lancashire following Sunday's match which was called off with England limping at 4 for 2 after 1.1 overs of their run-chase.

"I spoke to Michael and we agreed that if it's an area where you are asking your boys to run in 100%, it's going to be pretty dangerous," Collingwood said. "I sympathise with everyone who has turned up, there was another full house. We were desperate to play the game but if conditions aren't fit, they aren't fit."

Clarke said: "We are all disappointed with the result, but I think the decision that has been made was the right decision. We asked the groundsmen to do everything they could to get the ground fit, unfortunately the ground wasn't fit. The reason we tried so hard was because there was a full house and we gave it every shot possible, but the fact is the umpires made the decision the ground wasn't fit and I believe it was the right decision."

Neither captain supported the theory that, because Twenty20 was essentially created as a tool to draw the crowds, the players should have come out regardless of the conditions. "It is entertainment but you've got to have the right conditions to play the game," Collingwood said. "There are international cricketers who would be putting injuries at risk on that kind of surface."

Clarke added: "Any time you put on your country's colours you want to play your best cricket whatever the form of the game. No doubt Twenty20 has become a huge part [of cricket], but you are still representing your country and what to do as well as you can."

The public will get their money back, but that doesn't help Old Trafford's tattered reputation as an international arena. They are currently in the first stage of a massive redevelopment plan with the hope of bringing Test cricket back to the North West, but sadly for Lancashire a roof is not part of the project.

Old Trafford, as with all international grounds in the country, has installed state-of-the-art new drainage beneath a relaid outfield. However, because the club is turning the square to face north-south at the end of the 2010 season, the drainage doesn't run right up to the square itself. Earlier this season the one-day international between England and West Indies at Headingley was abandoned without a ball bowled because their drainage system hadn't bedded in and couldn't cope with a morning deluge.

"The new drainage system is fine, there's no problem with it," Cumbes said. "When I went out to look at the problem spot, I fully expected to be treading water, but there's none there. It's soft, of course it is. I know the umpires have tough decisions to make and I'm fully aware of player safety - I played the game for 20 years myself - but there comes a time when you have to think about the people who paid £50 to come in to the game. Sometimes I think we'd rather play in front of empty stadiums."

It hasn't been a good season for Lancashire when it comes to hosting important Twenty20 matches. Their domestic quarter-final against Somerset was forced into a bowl-out in the indoor school after days of heavy rain left the ground saturated. On that occasion they didn't have to turn 20,000 supporters away ... but they still lost.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY keezerthegeezer on | September 3, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I agree regarding collingwood I found his behaviour on both days (I was there on Sunday) arrogant in the extreme for such an average player. Chuck him out of the side ! he was rubbish in the ashes both batting and in the field.

  • POSTED BY london77 on | September 3, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    Is there any reason why Marylebone Cricket Club spent £1.2 million (no ECB grant) on drainage at Lord's and Lancashire CCC and Yorkshire CCC only spent the minimum ECB grant of £600 000.

    How can it be state-of-the-art if they only have HALF the drainage as what Lord's has? SHAMBLES !!

  • POSTED BY nickduck on | September 3, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    I went to both T20 games at Old Trafford and I am disgusted with the incompetence of both the umpires and the groudstaff. The first match would have had a result if the second innings had started on time when there was little to no rain falling at all, instead the umpires stood in the middle looking all smug and self important and decided to delay the start for 45 minutes. Guess what? The heavy rain started 50 minutes later. Regarding the second match, the head groundsman should be fired immediately. There was no prolonged rain on Tuesday, just a heavy shower mid-afternoon. If the groundstaff cannot keep a pitch and most importantly the bowlers run-ups dry during a heavy shower then they should be replaced and Lancashire should be fined accordingly and banned from holding an international match for some time. There can be no excuses. The pitch was unfit for play and no blame should be passed onto the players. A father and son in front of me had travelled down from Durham. Shocking.

  • POSTED BY nskaile on | September 3, 2009, 0:35 GMT

    ok maybe they are right that hey dont wanna take risk cuz someone might get injured BUT ECB should have gave eveone's money back cuz they came to see a game and it dint happen so its just not right!! OR they should play another t20 or ODI at smae ground and let eveone in fo free! it will make eveone happy.

  • POSTED BY wilkie.60 on | September 2, 2009, 22:04 GMT

    As a ex 1st class Umpire, I do know the laws regarding ground, weather and light (law 3). Ok, the run up at the Brian Statham end wasn't deemed to be fit, however the umpires/ groundsman can put matting down over the boggy area as they see fit.(according to the law book) If that wasn't a option then i would have asked the groundsmen to cut out the boggy area and replace it by a dry piece of turf from beyond the boundry.Maybe i am out of order suggesting it but at least i would be seen as doing something positive to try and get the game started.When all is said and done we are talking about 20/20 cricket and a packed house.After all they do say that they are in the entertainment industry.Ps I bet if it was a IPL match in India playing for mega bucks then those same players would not have been concerned about the conditons.

  • POSTED BY montyboyo on | September 2, 2009, 15:36 GMT

    I wonder if I am the only Glamorgan supporter positivley purring at last nights sad spectacle,the Lancashire gang on the sky sports team were praying that the Cardiff test would be a shambles from the organisation to the pitch to the outfield as much as I love Bumble it was good to see him squirming pity Athers was not there as well,all that said its a pity that the public was treated so badly there should have been some sort of match played whatever the conditions,i have played local cricket for many years and if i get injured on a soggy pitch I dont get paid these guys need a reality check

  • POSTED BY Tanters on | September 2, 2009, 15:27 GMT

    Why couldnt they have agreed to bowl from the other end throughout the match? Unusual admittedly, but hardly a problem. The batsmen just change ends at the end of the over. Be a good pub quiz question. Tanters

  • POSTED BY nicktheump on | September 2, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    Come come now Mr.Coombs - enough already please. It really does sound like a pathetic schoolboy trying to apportion blame elsewhere for his misdemeanors doesn't it? What he is suggesting is not far removed from saying that it is ok not to wear a seat belt if your only going to the local shops - especially if there is a crowd waiting there for you!! Its simply ludicrous. Any one of those players would have wanted to be on the field last night - heaven knows their egos would have demanded it following Sunday. But here in the 21st century Mr.Coombs, we abide by what is knowb as duty of care. You and your staff stuffed up Coombsy - if I may be familiar for a moment. Explain to your board, the ECB and the ICC (for what that is worth) as to why an international venue had covers barely suitable to local park cricket. With luck and a large dose of old boys club - a head or two might not roll.

  • POSTED BY COVENTRYBRIAN on | September 2, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    If there is anyone to blame for last nights fiasco it is Lancashire County Cricket Club. Why were the bowlers run ups like a bog whereas the rest of the ground was perfectly playable ? They have spent a lot of money on new drainage yet a small part of the ground was sodden. Hearing Jim Cumbes explanation for this as 'the footmarks had sweated under the covers' is utterly laughable. Sadly the incompetence of this Club, the worst of all the Test Grounds, shows they are still unfit to hold International Cricket. The people of Manchester deserve better.

  • POSTED BY D.V.C. on | September 2, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    Part of cricket is playing to the conditions. Surely adaptability is a skill we value in International cricketers? As far as I'm concerned there should be only one game we call cricket. It is the same game whether it is played by two countries or two villages. If your fast bowler can't run in and bowl fat at one end because of the conditions then you do what every village/league/county team does, you adapt to the situation! You only bowl the quickie from the other end, or you get him to bowl something different. If backward point is wet, you set a field that doesn't include backward point and bowl to that field. The fielding team attempts to adapt to the conditions and if the batting side is good enough to take advantage then good for them.

  • POSTED BY keezerthegeezer on | September 3, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I agree regarding collingwood I found his behaviour on both days (I was there on Sunday) arrogant in the extreme for such an average player. Chuck him out of the side ! he was rubbish in the ashes both batting and in the field.

  • POSTED BY london77 on | September 3, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    Is there any reason why Marylebone Cricket Club spent £1.2 million (no ECB grant) on drainage at Lord's and Lancashire CCC and Yorkshire CCC only spent the minimum ECB grant of £600 000.

    How can it be state-of-the-art if they only have HALF the drainage as what Lord's has? SHAMBLES !!

  • POSTED BY nickduck on | September 3, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    I went to both T20 games at Old Trafford and I am disgusted with the incompetence of both the umpires and the groudstaff. The first match would have had a result if the second innings had started on time when there was little to no rain falling at all, instead the umpires stood in the middle looking all smug and self important and decided to delay the start for 45 minutes. Guess what? The heavy rain started 50 minutes later. Regarding the second match, the head groundsman should be fired immediately. There was no prolonged rain on Tuesday, just a heavy shower mid-afternoon. If the groundstaff cannot keep a pitch and most importantly the bowlers run-ups dry during a heavy shower then they should be replaced and Lancashire should be fined accordingly and banned from holding an international match for some time. There can be no excuses. The pitch was unfit for play and no blame should be passed onto the players. A father and son in front of me had travelled down from Durham. Shocking.

  • POSTED BY nskaile on | September 3, 2009, 0:35 GMT

    ok maybe they are right that hey dont wanna take risk cuz someone might get injured BUT ECB should have gave eveone's money back cuz they came to see a game and it dint happen so its just not right!! OR they should play another t20 or ODI at smae ground and let eveone in fo free! it will make eveone happy.

  • POSTED BY wilkie.60 on | September 2, 2009, 22:04 GMT

    As a ex 1st class Umpire, I do know the laws regarding ground, weather and light (law 3). Ok, the run up at the Brian Statham end wasn't deemed to be fit, however the umpires/ groundsman can put matting down over the boggy area as they see fit.(according to the law book) If that wasn't a option then i would have asked the groundsmen to cut out the boggy area and replace it by a dry piece of turf from beyond the boundry.Maybe i am out of order suggesting it but at least i would be seen as doing something positive to try and get the game started.When all is said and done we are talking about 20/20 cricket and a packed house.After all they do say that they are in the entertainment industry.Ps I bet if it was a IPL match in India playing for mega bucks then those same players would not have been concerned about the conditons.

  • POSTED BY montyboyo on | September 2, 2009, 15:36 GMT

    I wonder if I am the only Glamorgan supporter positivley purring at last nights sad spectacle,the Lancashire gang on the sky sports team were praying that the Cardiff test would be a shambles from the organisation to the pitch to the outfield as much as I love Bumble it was good to see him squirming pity Athers was not there as well,all that said its a pity that the public was treated so badly there should have been some sort of match played whatever the conditions,i have played local cricket for many years and if i get injured on a soggy pitch I dont get paid these guys need a reality check

  • POSTED BY Tanters on | September 2, 2009, 15:27 GMT

    Why couldnt they have agreed to bowl from the other end throughout the match? Unusual admittedly, but hardly a problem. The batsmen just change ends at the end of the over. Be a good pub quiz question. Tanters

  • POSTED BY nicktheump on | September 2, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    Come come now Mr.Coombs - enough already please. It really does sound like a pathetic schoolboy trying to apportion blame elsewhere for his misdemeanors doesn't it? What he is suggesting is not far removed from saying that it is ok not to wear a seat belt if your only going to the local shops - especially if there is a crowd waiting there for you!! Its simply ludicrous. Any one of those players would have wanted to be on the field last night - heaven knows their egos would have demanded it following Sunday. But here in the 21st century Mr.Coombs, we abide by what is knowb as duty of care. You and your staff stuffed up Coombsy - if I may be familiar for a moment. Explain to your board, the ECB and the ICC (for what that is worth) as to why an international venue had covers barely suitable to local park cricket. With luck and a large dose of old boys club - a head or two might not roll.

  • POSTED BY COVENTRYBRIAN on | September 2, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    If there is anyone to blame for last nights fiasco it is Lancashire County Cricket Club. Why were the bowlers run ups like a bog whereas the rest of the ground was perfectly playable ? They have spent a lot of money on new drainage yet a small part of the ground was sodden. Hearing Jim Cumbes explanation for this as 'the footmarks had sweated under the covers' is utterly laughable. Sadly the incompetence of this Club, the worst of all the Test Grounds, shows they are still unfit to hold International Cricket. The people of Manchester deserve better.

  • POSTED BY D.V.C. on | September 2, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    Part of cricket is playing to the conditions. Surely adaptability is a skill we value in International cricketers? As far as I'm concerned there should be only one game we call cricket. It is the same game whether it is played by two countries or two villages. If your fast bowler can't run in and bowl fat at one end because of the conditions then you do what every village/league/county team does, you adapt to the situation! You only bowl the quickie from the other end, or you get him to bowl something different. If backward point is wet, you set a field that doesn't include backward point and bowl to that field. The fielding team attempts to adapt to the conditions and if the batting side is good enough to take advantage then good for them.

  • POSTED BY Garp on | September 2, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    I found Collingwoods comments extremely pompous and demeaning to the followers of this great sport. Collie firmly states that the ground wasn't up to "International levels," and therefore not a an over should be played, ok then lets take that statement one farther, Collingwoods performances for the last 6 months to a year haven't been up to "International levels," so therefore he shouldn't be selected for any International match. The next 20/20 World Cup is close to 2 years away so I highly doubt that this one off match had any bearring on the standings. Todays players are so damn prissy it isn't even funny, they make a 100 times more money than cricketers of the past, get the best of everything no matter where they are or go, and have no idea who actually pays for all of it, the fans. Te match should of been turned into an exhibition game with only medium and slow pitch from the problem end. The inability of these people to think on their feet is killing the sport of cricket!

  • POSTED BY VaultMaster on | September 2, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    If only one end of the ground was affected, why didn't the players and umpires discuss bowling all deliveries from the other end? All you would need would be for the batsmen to swap ends after each over, just like you do in indoor cricket. Surely someone must have thought of this? Surely T20 is flexible enough to accomodate something like this, isn't that the point of it?

  • POSTED BY Wharfeseamer on | September 2, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    Bottom line is that the 'business' area of the ground, pitch and run ups, should be more than adequately protected even against thunderstorms and this just shouldn't have happened. For 20/20 though, there should be Plan B and C to get around it.. matting to cover the bad area or bowling from one end both seem eminently sensible to me Geeky I know but just for the record... rain in the UK is generally on an East/West split.... NOT North/South. Met office historial records show that in September most of Yorkshire east of the Pennines and North East England will get as few rain days as London, even days of heavy rain. So Headingley and Durham would be just as good a choice as the Oval for minimsing the risk of a rain affected games. It may not feel like it bust historical records would suggest it is!

    The West of the UK is wetter that the east but even then Manchester experiences only an average of 4 very wet days a month in Septemb

  • POSTED BY AndyMick on | September 2, 2009, 10:43 GMT

    And how sorry must we feel for the most Northern of international grounds, Durham, they get the first test match (real cricket) and the last ODI. How stupid is that planning? As some people have said, its only 20/20 rubbish, so who cares?

  • POSTED BY fjjw on | September 2, 2009, 9:46 GMT

    Elf n' safety forcing its way in? Ridiculous. Asking a bowler to bowl 24 balls from one end that might be a bit soggy is far from being too much. Let's not worry about the paying public, I'm sure they'll understand that they don't want to 'risk' their 'livelihood'. I think some have to be reminded that its the paying public that pay their salaries and expenses.

    If its truly dangerous, no problem. Last night, it wasn't. Pathetic.

  • POSTED BY Rastus on | September 2, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    It is OK saying they shouldn't have to risk their livelihoods but they wouldn't have a fantastic livelihood if it wasn't for us idiots that keep turning up to give them money and get nothing in return. Would it be so bad if they got injured and had to do a boring 9-5 job like every one else. They have such privileged lifestyles that forget what it is like for everyone who has a mundane job and maybe gets one chance in a year to spend their hard earned money and go see a cricket match. Unfortunately in England we are so stupid that we constantly put up with their arrogant attitudes.

  • POSTED BY Mister_E on | September 2, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    Couldn't the ground staff fix a piece of matting or astroturf over the affected area?? They players are seemingly ok about running over the sponsors logos on the pitch, so I can't see why there would be a problem using a similar covering over damp or dangerous areas...?

  • POSTED BY Hutton364 on | September 2, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    It is simply nonsense to say that Old Trafford's reputation as an international venue has been damaged by this. This is a journalistic attempt to create a story where none exists. We all know it rains a lot in Manchester, but they can't really be held responsible for a thunder storm.There were torrential downpours all over the north yesterday. The umpires decided it wasn't fit and the players agreed. Even in Twenty20 there is a serious danger of injury from slippery run-ups.

  • POSTED BY rockiniboepip on | September 2, 2009, 8:31 GMT

    they wasted the 2008 20/20 fixture vs SAF as well by trying to play it up north. If there's 2 games in 2 days why not play one at the oval/lords/rose bowl? ECB has got to face up to facts -International cricket - Manchester - September - no go Superbowl = florida/california or indoor - learn something from a different sport ECB

  • POSTED BY Double-winners on | September 2, 2009, 7:59 GMT

    I am afraid Cricket has shot itself in the foot again. 20/20 cricket is purely about entertaining the crowd. There never seems to be a commonsense approach about these things. If this is always going to be an issue then only play 20/20 in the appropriate months or in much warmer climates.

  • POSTED BY JDcov on | September 2, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    Forget the fact that the covers for whatever reason didn't work, and that the players bottled it, my question is why on earth do the ECB schedule two matches, regardless of the format, in Manchester where it RAINS, in very late summer. The chances of sucess were only 50% before the whole thing started anyway. We will lose some ODI cricket too for sure at this time of year this summers series were made up of W.Indies tests that (with respect) nobody was REALLY interested in, followed way too late by the Ashes series. We had our fun with the T20 world cup, and didn't need these games, especially so late, especially in Manchester. If we wanted t20 against the Aussies, play then in the middle of summer as warm ups for the World cup - everyone was here. ECB just don't think it through do they....including relying on Lancs CCC to get it right.

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | September 2, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    Jim Cumbes should not be questioning players and them risking their livelyhood for a silly T20 game. His question should be why are the covers at the ground not suitable enough to protect such an important area for the bowler.

  • POSTED BY JaySarkar on | September 2, 2009, 3:37 GMT

    Sorry but I dont agree with the likes of KBCA and 100%- an injury to an international player means potential loss of place in the side, but livelihood. Playing from one end would have been fine, with only spinners bowling from the soggy end. Mr Cumbes and his mates have messed this up. NO matter what he says, its poor management. Finally, and many of us have got used to doing it, greed doesn't just drive the IPL. Otherwise why schedule 2 meaningless T20's (not even 3) so late in the year up north?? Plain foolish.

  • POSTED BY Ozmonty on | September 2, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    Good ol England.. what a country. On a constructive note, surely for a 20-20 (and only for this type of cricket) why can't they just bowl from one end??

  • POSTED BY Humbata on | September 2, 2009, 3:26 GMT

    As an ex county player I have to agree with the umpires, captains and Sky commentators who all viewed the ground as unfit to play. It is hypocritical of spectators, who have paid to watch the world's best players, to expect those players to play in conditions that do not allow them to perform to their best. This is their livelihood and it is unfair to ask them to risk sustaining an injury in dangerous circumstances. You wouldn't expect a supermarket worker to carry stock over a wet floor or a roofer to use an unsafe ladder - this is no different

  • POSTED BY warnies_lovechild on | September 2, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    KBCA your solutions are ridiculous. To bowl off a shorter run or bowl around the wicket for the duration, I am surprised you didn't mention the batting team just sets up a bowling machine and don't worry about the bowlers at all. If neither team wants to play due to the inherent risks then the game has to be called off. A bit better planning in the future wouldn't be the worst idea so the risk of rain is lower also.

  • POSTED BY nafzak on | September 2, 2009, 2:26 GMT

    Imagine if this had happened in the West Indies or the Sub Continent if it was England or Australia playing against the home team! The media, ICC executives, foreign boards, foreign players, their wives, children, etc., would still be trashing us as incompetent fools who can't run anything like the colonial master. Okay, not in those exact words, but you get the picture.

  • POSTED BY eyballfallenout on | September 2, 2009, 1:59 GMT

    may be they should have bowled from one end, or only allowed three steps in the run up, or only around the wicket. Would not make any difference to the farce that 20/20 is anyway.

  • POSTED BY Woody111 on | September 2, 2009, 1:33 GMT

    Have to agree with 100% - play from one end if that's the issue. It's only 20/20 rubbish anyway so who cares? Those poor buggers who coughed up 50 pounds (are you serious - is that how much you guys have to pay for 3 hours cricket!) have every right to be annoyed. If weather is such an issue - wherever in England - at this time of year then why are they playing one day stuff now?

  • POSTED BY jamrith on | September 2, 2009, 1:18 GMT

    Warnie, in suggesting bowling from one end, is thinking out of the box,something that he did as captain of the Rajasthan Royals in leading them to victory in IPL's inaugural season We need men like him to pull cricket up otherwise the game is going to have to be boxed up and buried.

  • POSTED BY powerash5000 on | September 2, 2009, 1:11 GMT

    how hard is it to put a piece of plastic over the outfield or at least the run ups, its not rocket science

  • POSTED BY AliT72 on | September 2, 2009, 0:57 GMT

    As mentioned before, why not bowl from one end? Why is it that no one other than Warne thought of this or at least didn't think it was worthwhile? No vision or commonsense. I'm sure the crowd would have preferred that to no game. As for people saying that there's no evidence for it being dangerous etc and they should play in any conditions - have you ever bowled at pace on a slippery wicket? It's the most disconcerting thing, you feel like you're going to go over at any time - and I'm no Brett Lee - he hurtles toward the wicket. What would the outcry have been like if he'd gone over and injured himself again - or would have you been so forgiving of the players when they were belted all over the ground bowling at 3/4 pace?

  • POSTED BY -Hilal- on | September 2, 2009, 0:54 GMT

    Give Old Trafford a break! One of two things must change if we want to keep playing cricket outdoors in the next few years.

    The last 24 months alone every nation that plays Cricket has faced adverse and sever weather conditions. From floods, rains, to wild fires.

    1. Cricketers and cricket administrators must relax their views of players getting hurt due to wet outfields. Sportsman who make ten times more than cricketers, like soccer/football players, have no issues running on a soggy outfield.

    2. Move the game to custom built indoor enclosures.

    The guys at islandcricket.lk have been talking, and in a conversation someone noted more washed out games in the last 2 years than before. So clearly the weather is going to destroy cricket unless we become practical or find a suitable solution.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | September 2, 2009, 0:50 GMT

    I was mortified at getting up at 3.30am Australian time to watch this, only to see it abandoned - not because of rain, but because of decisions made by the captains that it might not be 100% safe. Well, injuries happen in games anyway, so why be so precious? It was appalling that now, after 2 late nights trying to watch T20 cricket, I did not see a result in either. Michael Clarke and Collingwood have a lot to answer for, not just for the fans at the game, but for all of the fans on TV and internet and anywhere else who wanted to see a good game. This game should not have been abandoned.

  • POSTED BY Jeppo on | September 2, 2009, 0:49 GMT

    I was thinking of actually going to Old Trafford to watch this game, but they were sold out. Now it is a good job I didn't go, but I feel for those who did. Yes they may get their tickets refunded, but they still had to pay travel costs and car parking. I just don't understand how they couldn't find some other arrangement, such as only bowl at one end, or only bowl spin at the affected end. Cricket has just lost 25,000 fans. How many more will they lose with this current thinking? After all, it's the fans who are paying the cricketers to play.

  • POSTED BY rsgarcia on | September 2, 2009, 0:33 GMT

    Funny. If this had happened in Antigua, we'd all know who was to blame. Wait a minute. It did, and the English had a field day. Well, look who's got the shoe on now. And KBCA only an idiot would risk his bowlers with a wet run-up. It's not about outfields, it's about putting your foot down to take off and hearing your ankle snap. And of all teams, England knows all about career-ending run up injuries, so I think you should re-think your statement.

  • POSTED BY alakving on | September 2, 2009, 0:29 GMT

    KBCA are you out of your mind?! Sure if this was park cricket I'd expect everyone to give it a go but these guys are professionals paid at least 200000 dollars annually to play the highest quality cricket all year round. They have teams of coaches and specialists teaching them exactly how they are to bowl - and you want them to just 'shorten their run up' and 'bowl around the wicket.' That is just ludicrous, it's like telling a football player 'oh dont draw your leg back so far when you kick.' And there is heaps of evidence that playing in these conditions will get people hurt - can you imagine what would happen if Anderson or Lee (with massive run ups and hit the deck hard in their delivery stride) slipped slightly as they bowled? The forces involved could break their ankle. And Balls n Bails I don't know what you're on about either. The sub continent's problem(if it has one anyway - I dont remember any "standard criticism") is that it can't let anything go and play cricket.

  • POSTED BY Hoggy_1989 on | September 2, 2009, 0:19 GMT

    Couldn't they have just played a 5 over a side exhibition match, where they only bowl from one end? It might not be 'cricket' according to the purists, but seriously, when youve got fans who pay big money to see cricket and then be turned away cause the ground has bad drainage (let's face it, thats the real reason the game didn't happen). Even if they refund half the fans money; the fans see some cricket, the county gets some money (maybe it still runs a loss; but not a big loss)...everyone wins. What says that at least one or two of these seven ODI matches gets rained out as well?

  • POSTED BY SpiritoCricket on | September 1, 2009, 23:43 GMT

    Players were guided by the umpires decision. Both captains agreed not to play. The fact that pitches and grounds can be poorly prepared or drained lies with the ICC. It is up to the ICC to do what FIFA do in football in ensuring that the playing surface is to an international standard. What if a player had been injured on this pitch? Would the ECB or CA or the player themselves been able to press for damages in the English Courts ?

  • POSTED BY RobOfBruce on | September 1, 2009, 23:27 GMT

    Let's not blame the cricketers here. Sure, Twenty20 is a form of cricketing entertainment for the masses, but these people are playing for their country, and to expect them to perform in conditions that don't allow them to play at their best is ludicrous. Blame the inept ground staff at Old Trafford who couldn't design covers to keep seepage out of the bowler's run-up - that's the real travesty here.

  • POSTED BY GOSMGR2 on | September 1, 2009, 23:22 GMT

    I was at Old Trafford "freezing my butt off" as one of your earlier correspondents mentioned.I learned about the abandonment through listening to TMS, not through the public address system at the ground.The ground was never going to be any drier at 8pm than it was at 7pm.I thought of all the areas that needed protection on a square,bowler's run-ups and landing areas should have top priority after the pitch itself.Yes the attitude of the players is precious,but this is just negligence on the part of L.C.C.C.The scheduling is not the issue,even in Manchester you can have lovely days and evenings in early September.The issue is the lack of drive and energy in ensuring play at an important event.What is the point of modernising your ground(badly needed by the way),if you are incapable of putting the main event on.The Coldplay concert won't be cancelled at the same venue in 10 days time.Old Trafford doesn't deserve international cricket,so don't bother with Phase 2 of the re-development.

  • POSTED BY deegan on | September 1, 2009, 23:02 GMT

    T20 is early in its days, they will, and should, learn from this and change the rules to allow the umpires to be flexible with things like bowling from one end or only bowling around the wicket from one end. I also cant actually see how they couldnt invent a hard piece of relpacement ground with a solid base and astro turf like top that could cover the whole problem section - something to consider in this format.

  • POSTED BY Sword_of_Honour on | September 1, 2009, 22:00 GMT

    I thought that 20/20 was supposed to be the 'fun' form of cricket; which it was when it started over here. When I followed Surrey to victory in the first UK series it was all a bit of fun and brought in massive crowds. But now attendances are dropping in the domestic tournament as crowds are realising its limitatons. Cricket should treat 20/20 as rugby treats sevens. A second tier international competition and an end of season domestic festival.

    Going back to OT, I agree that it could not have been sweating to cause the problems. Something was very wrong with the covers somewhere.

    And if the captains had said to the umpires "Don't be daft, we'll play somehow" the game would have gone ahead. How many of the spectators had turned up for their first taste of cricket I wonder? And how many won't bother again?

    Almost as big a debacle as the Antigua 'non-test' and a damning advert for our great game!

  • POSTED BY durhamackem on | September 1, 2009, 21:39 GMT

    No doubt sky will have funded this match with sky viewers subscriptions, if Lancs are adjudged to be at fault the match fee should be forfieted and passed down t.o local cricket or some other worthy cause. surely the ECB has sufficient funds to take moveable covers around the grounds for each match afterall they take over the grounds in stewarding and security. looks like Lancs are not upto the task. Well done Blackie today. Durhamackem

  • POSTED BY Clean_hitter on | September 1, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    Bowling from just one end makes sense in a situation like this, it's only a T20 game, so 20 x 2 = 40 overs, about the same amount of wear on the run-up as would be produced by an average day's play in a test match.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 1, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    Were the bowlers' run-ups not protected? Surely grounds still cover them.

    I'm sorry to read Balls-n-balls' comments. Wouldn't it by nice if we could avoid such racist claptrap in cricket?

  • POSTED BY KBCA on | September 1, 2009, 21:22 GMT

    These captains and teams are far too precious, this 'risk of injury' is rubbish, bowl off a shorter run up or come round the wicket or from the other end. this attitude of 'oh we REALLY wanted to play, but we just couldnt..' is another example of arrogant over paid 'proffessionals' not fulfilling their commitments to the game. who hasnt played on wet outfields, i dont think there is any evidence players are more likely to get hurt in these conditions

  • POSTED BY HundredPercentBarcelonista on | September 1, 2009, 21:16 GMT

    I wonder if they considered doing what Warne suggested, which was to bowl from just one end. I know it sounds outlandish but like Jim Cumbes said,"We've got to rethink how we treat our public in cricket." I was getting frustrated sitting at home waiting for the match to start, and I'm a cricket fan for life. I can't even imagine how the spectators at the ground must have felt, some of whom were freezing their butt off to watch the first cricket match of their lives.

  • POSTED BY Stuart_Lord on | September 1, 2009, 21:12 GMT

    I hate to say this, but this what happens when you schedule an international cricket match to take place in early September in an area of the country which is prone to bad weather (remember the day lost to rain in the 2005 Old Trafford test?).

    I also strongly suspect that Lancashire were given the Twenty20 series as a 'sweetener' because they did not get a Test match.

    Finally lets not forget that in 2005, the Twenty20 match and the ODI series took place at the beginning of the Ozzie tour - what on earth made the ECB change their minds?

  • POSTED BY Inthealltogether on | September 1, 2009, 20:38 GMT

    Was the Good Lord telling us something about 20/20? I've just spent £36 watching 3 days of a riveting game between Kent & Surrey which kept us on the edge of our seats till late on the 4th day.

  • POSTED BY 0NBH on | September 1, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    That quote from Cumbes is rubbish - the area that caused the abandonment was clearly not due to sweating, a) because sweating doesn't cause that much damage and b) because it wouldn't occur just in one or two isolated places.

  • POSTED BY Balls-n-Bails on | September 1, 2009, 20:16 GMT

    Good thing this did not happen in sub-continent, otherwise both Australian and England player would have repeated their standard criticism of conditions in the sub-continent.

  • POSTED BY dkirby on | September 1, 2009, 20:06 GMT

    What Jim Cumbes really means is that he's bitterly disappointed to have to refund all the people who paid £50 for tickets. Surely they could have got ten overs in for the club's sake?

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  • POSTED BY dkirby on | September 1, 2009, 20:06 GMT

    What Jim Cumbes really means is that he's bitterly disappointed to have to refund all the people who paid £50 for tickets. Surely they could have got ten overs in for the club's sake?

  • POSTED BY Balls-n-Bails on | September 1, 2009, 20:16 GMT

    Good thing this did not happen in sub-continent, otherwise both Australian and England player would have repeated their standard criticism of conditions in the sub-continent.

  • POSTED BY 0NBH on | September 1, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    That quote from Cumbes is rubbish - the area that caused the abandonment was clearly not due to sweating, a) because sweating doesn't cause that much damage and b) because it wouldn't occur just in one or two isolated places.

  • POSTED BY Inthealltogether on | September 1, 2009, 20:38 GMT

    Was the Good Lord telling us something about 20/20? I've just spent £36 watching 3 days of a riveting game between Kent & Surrey which kept us on the edge of our seats till late on the 4th day.

  • POSTED BY Stuart_Lord on | September 1, 2009, 21:12 GMT

    I hate to say this, but this what happens when you schedule an international cricket match to take place in early September in an area of the country which is prone to bad weather (remember the day lost to rain in the 2005 Old Trafford test?).

    I also strongly suspect that Lancashire were given the Twenty20 series as a 'sweetener' because they did not get a Test match.

    Finally lets not forget that in 2005, the Twenty20 match and the ODI series took place at the beginning of the Ozzie tour - what on earth made the ECB change their minds?

  • POSTED BY HundredPercentBarcelonista on | September 1, 2009, 21:16 GMT

    I wonder if they considered doing what Warne suggested, which was to bowl from just one end. I know it sounds outlandish but like Jim Cumbes said,"We've got to rethink how we treat our public in cricket." I was getting frustrated sitting at home waiting for the match to start, and I'm a cricket fan for life. I can't even imagine how the spectators at the ground must have felt, some of whom were freezing their butt off to watch the first cricket match of their lives.

  • POSTED BY KBCA on | September 1, 2009, 21:22 GMT

    These captains and teams are far too precious, this 'risk of injury' is rubbish, bowl off a shorter run up or come round the wicket or from the other end. this attitude of 'oh we REALLY wanted to play, but we just couldnt..' is another example of arrogant over paid 'proffessionals' not fulfilling their commitments to the game. who hasnt played on wet outfields, i dont think there is any evidence players are more likely to get hurt in these conditions

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 1, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    Were the bowlers' run-ups not protected? Surely grounds still cover them.

    I'm sorry to read Balls-n-balls' comments. Wouldn't it by nice if we could avoid such racist claptrap in cricket?

  • POSTED BY Clean_hitter on | September 1, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    Bowling from just one end makes sense in a situation like this, it's only a T20 game, so 20 x 2 = 40 overs, about the same amount of wear on the run-up as would be produced by an average day's play in a test match.

  • POSTED BY durhamackem on | September 1, 2009, 21:39 GMT

    No doubt sky will have funded this match with sky viewers subscriptions, if Lancs are adjudged to be at fault the match fee should be forfieted and passed down t.o local cricket or some other worthy cause. surely the ECB has sufficient funds to take moveable covers around the grounds for each match afterall they take over the grounds in stewarding and security. looks like Lancs are not upto the task. Well done Blackie today. Durhamackem