Can cricket continue in the face of a rapidly changing climate?
By: Hannah Yang
Cricket is the world’s second most popular game after soccer, with billions of fans. Many countries that support cricket are often in areas vulnerable to intense heat, rain, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and rising sea levels that cause human-emission greenhouse gases.
But this year, the sport has faced multiple challenges due to human-induced climate change. In 2022, the sport experienced the hottest spring on the Indian subcontinent in over a century and Britain’s hottest day. The cricket team arrived to play matches in Multan, Pakistan, where the temperature had reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly higher than the average even for the hottest place.
Jeré Longman and Karan Deep Singh writing for NY Times, said: “Heat is hardly the only concern for cricket players. Like the roughly similar pitching and batting sport of baseball, cricket cannot easily be played in the rain. In July, the West Indies abandoned a match in Dominica and shortened others in Guyana and Trinidad because of rain and waterlogged fields.”
The heat is particularly strenuous for cricket players. In 2019, a climate report suggested for cricket players be allowed to wear shorts instead of to stay cool. Unlike marathon runners, cricket players do not have the advantage of wearing shorts and trousers. Cricket players must rather wear pads, resulting in more sweat and heat—making playing games in hot places even more unbearable.
Climate change has affected every aspect of cricket, from batting to bowling strategies to concerns for seed germination in the ground, pests, and fungal diseases. Many cricket grounds have been forced to relax their stringent dress code. For instance, in mid-July, cricket players at Lord’s Cricket Grounds in London weren’t required to wear jackets in the blistering heat.