In order to keep the players safe from heat waves, a joint report by sports researchers and environmental academics have urged the cricket authorities to introduce “heat rules”. The researchers have said that the authorities should also consider postponing games in dire conditions developing due to climate change.
The review has been done by the British Association for Sustainable Sport and two universities. Researchers have also called for extra care around youth players and for manufacturers to develop equipment that enhances air flow, as extreme heat becomes more common.
“This is a wake-up call not just for cricket, but for all sport,” said Russell Seymour, sustainability manager at Lord’s cricket ground in London.
“Sportspeople are not by nature bystanders and we can and must react to avoid the crises approaching us.
“For every player suffering, there are many more fans having to work and go about their daily lives in these increasingly harsh conditions,” he was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
The report, named “Hit for Six”, talked about cricket-playing countries such as India and Australia to say that extreme weather conditions can take a toll on players. Both India and Australia, two of the powerhouses in the game, have been affected by natural disasters like droughts, heatwaves and storms in recent times.
The report has also noted that youth matches in Australia have been disrupted due to heat while South Africa and England have been affected by water-shortage and flood respectively. Its authors say they have combined climate science with heat physiology to show how batsmen and wicketkeepers are becoming increasingly susceptible to poorer performances due to the conditions.
“Above 35 degrees (Celsius) the body runs out of options to cool itself,” said Mike Tipton, professor of human and applied physiology at the University of Portsmouth and one of the report’s authors.
“For batsman and wicketkeepers even sweating has limited impact as the heavy protective cladding creates a highly humid microclimate next to their bodies.”
“Particular care must be given to young players and the grassroots of the sport where elite-level cooling facilities simply aren’t available,” he added.
As of now, cricket really does not have any such rules to abandon or postpone the game due to heat. But given the way, climate is changing drastically in recent times, one cannot rule out the possibility of seeing ‘heat rules’ being introduced in the game.