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Giant tents could end cricket’s rain delays

Cricket’s governing bodies are discussing plans to stop rain delays by covering the pitches with giant mesh canopies.

Field marshals and workers run to cover the pitch as rain starts during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match between South Africa and Bangladesh in Potchefstroom on October 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Rain delays and stopped cricket matches could become a thing of the past. According to UK based newspaper the Telegraph, a United States-based company has approached the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the English Cricket Board (ECB) with new technology that could allow games to continue in case of rain.

“There is some interesting technology around trying to create protection from rain and keep the game on in wet weather,” said MCC CEO Guy Lavender to Telegraph Sport.

The proposal includes suspending a thin plastic mesh over the pitches, with a hot air balloon in the center to lift up the canopy, creating a tent-like effect.

Testing is still at a very early stage; however, it has attracted the interest of cricket’s governing bodies in the United Kingdom.

Rain stopped play -  the bane of cricket

As far as cricket is concerned, in the UK in particular, rain has always been one of the major issues. And it was seen this summer, with unpredictable weather during the ICC Champions Trophy, in which Australia could only complete a single game, while the other two were washed-out.

Domestic English and Welsh cricket suffers too. Last season, 16 matches in the NatWest T20 Blast were stopped because of rain.

“It is an enormous issue for cricket. When you think about the impact of the weather on cricket in the UK we have a part to play, as a leading club in the game, in thinking about how those new technologies develop and are tested,” stated Guy Lavender.

Still some issues to address

There is, however, still a long way to go before this technology could be applied. The Telegraph’s report says there are still several issues to address, such as how to handle the run-off water and safety in strong winds. In the best case scenario it is believed that this technology is at least two years away from becoming a reality.


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