Climate Change Causes Problems for Cricket
By: Emma Wei
Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport, following soccer. Popular in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, and the West Indies, the sport has 2-3 billion fans. However, according to a 2018 climate change report, “cricket will be hardest hit by climate change” out of all major outdoor sports that use fields or pitches.
The countries listed above have been victims of intense climate change, causing record-breaking heat, rain, flooding, drought, hurricanes, wildfires, and sea level rise. England and Australia also have a big cricket following, and the sport has been affected as heat waves have intensified. Since the air is warmer, more moisture is created, resulting in heavier rainstorms later on.
This year, cricket players have been suffering more than ever. They have faced the hottest spring on the Indian subcontinent in more than a century and the hottest day in Britain.
In a match located in the West Indies, the temperature peaked at 111 degrees Fahrenheit. 29-year-old West Indies player, Akeal Hosein, said, “It honestly felt like you were opening an oven.” He and his teammates all wore ice vests during the breaks.
Heat is not the only problem the sport has faced. Cricket cannot be played in the rain. In July, rain and water-clogged fields caused the West Indies to abandon a match in Dominica and shorten others in Guyana.
Hurricanes have also caused damage. In 2017, Irma and Maria, two category five storms, destroyed five Caribbean cricket stadiums.
Many people have been saying that action is needed for the sport to continue. Yet the International Cricket Council, the sport’s governing body, has remained silent. The organization has not signed the United Nations sports and climate initiative. The initiative is aimed at sports organizations to reduce their carbon footprint to net-zero emissions by 2050.
David Goldblatt, the British author of a 2020 report on sport and climate change, said, “Cricket really needs to get its act together. A whole bunch of trouble is not really far away.”
With climate change becoming worse and worse, the International Cricket Council must start taking action. Cricket fans and players are questioning whether the sport can go on safely.