As an English cricketer, I have regularly been at the mercy of the great British weather conditions. Whether you play professional cricket at the highest level or just for your local cricket club, there will have been times when rain has come down during the game only for everyone to scramble into the clubhouse.
So, I decided to do some research to see how different weather conditions affect play and how to make decisions that are more favourable.
Weather conditions can have a dramatic effect on the cricket game including rain, wind, dew and humidity. This will require you to make changes before and during the game depending on what you expect to see especially in the longer format.
What type of weather affects Cricket the Most?
Probably rain! Even if it’s not currently raining, you have to judge whether it will rain later on in the game. If you feel like it might rain later on then it’s vitally important that you take that into account which might mean you bowl first so you can have the best of the conditions later on when it is easier to bowl.
Why isn’t cricket played in the rain like football is?
Cricket is generally played in the Summer. Therefore, when rain comes down during the game, you will often see rain delays which will take time out of the game. There have been times when rain has completely washed out a game which is quite common in club level as they may not have the drainage system that the top-level grounds offer.
Cricket can’t be played during the rain and there’s a number of reasons for this
- Bowlers will have difficulty controlling a wet/slippery ball. This will give one of the teams and advantage.
- Players will struggle to see the ball. This can be dangerous as a batsman who could be facing a cricket ball in excess of 80mph. Wearing wet clothes with all the extra padding and equipment isn’t very fun either.
- The pitch has to remain dry to prevent it from being damaged. If it is flooded, then you may not get any bounce out of the pitch.
- This is also the case on the outfield as the cricket ball may struggle to reach the boundary because the grass is damp and slows the ball down. Obviously, this makes it dangerous for fielders as well who might be prone to getting injured while fielding.
How does weather conditions affect bowling?
As I mentioned earlier, as a bowler, weather conditions can play a huge part in affecting your performance. Obviously, it becomes more difficult to grip the cricket ball when the cricket ball gets wet. This is why you will often see players with a tea towel to dry the ball down and reduce the degrading of the cricket ball.
But these conditions also influence the movement of the ball either through the air or off the pitch.
It is a common thought that when there’s a grey sky during a game, it can help change the direction of the cricket ball.
Swing is a crucial weapon for a bowler where some movement in the air could be the difference between seeing the cricket end up by the boundary or edged behind to the wicketkeeper. It’s the one thing that batsmen do not like and it is believed that overhead conditions do play a part when talking about swing.
It is something that is seen time and time again where the ball swings more when you have overcast, very cloudy and humid conditions compared to a hot sunny day with clear blue skies. When there is some moisture in the air and the air is much denser, it brings about favourable swing bowling conditions.
Part of the reason could be that on a sunny day, the land heats up and hot air rises. This heats up the area around the pitch. For swing conditions, you need a stable environment around the pitch which is why overcast grey conditions are more favourable for swing bowlers.
However, for a spin bowler, these sunny conditions become favourable for their bowling because the heat causes the pitch to dry out and become dusty. This makes it less predictable for batsmen as the ball gets more grip off the surface and may cause the ball to deviate unexpectedly. This is why in countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, you’ll see spinners play a huge part on the fourth and fifth day of a test match.
Wind is also a crucial factor because when there is a breeze going across the pitch you can expect the ball to swing with the breeze making it even more difficult for the batsmen.
How does the weather conditions affect the batting?
Being a top-order batsman, it is always a sigh of relief when it is clear blue skies because you know you aren’t going to get much movement in the air with these conditions.
As a batsman, you don’t want there to be any moisture in the air or the pitch as that brings about that swing. When you a nice sunny day with clear blue skies, the heat dries out the pitch, losing its moisture and taking cracks and grass out of play too.
If you generally looked at cricket scores, they tend to be much higher when it’s clear blue skies. Obviously, there’s not much you can do about the movement off the pitch which comes down to the skill of the bowler.
Obviously, if with rain coming down, it does make it more difficult to grip the ball as a bowler and will slow down play potentially making it easier for a batting team. I personally don’t like batting in wet conditions, as I tend the find that the ball skids on and keeps low which makes it way more unpredictable.
When you watch a game of high-class cricket whether on tele or at a cricket ground, experienced cricketers will pay extra attention to the weather conditions. Teams will build up tactics and decisions by understanding how these conditions will affect the pitch and the game.
Hopefully, my research helped you understand a little bit more about the different effects of weather conditions. Don’t forget, there is tons of awesome information here so check them out.