Owzat! Climate change will even hit cricket
In the same week as England failed to regain the Ashes from Australia, cricket was bowled another bumper – this time by climate change.
A report by scientists to the World Cricket Committee says the game must plan now for when heatwaves, droughts and storms become more likely.
The Hit for Six document says that a new generation of kit needs to be developed for players, as higher heat and humidity will be a risk to both them and spectators, while extreme weather will affect the quality of grass pitches.
“It just shows how climate change has some surprising effects on every aspect of life, including sport,” said green energy expert Ron Fox.
The scientists say cricket must develop new helmets, gloves and pads to keep players cool in hot weather, while shorts, instead of long white trousers, should also be an option.
Co-author of the report, Professor Mike Tipton, of the University of Portsmouth’s department of sport and exercise, pointed out that a day at the crease for a batsman wearing heavy gloves, pads and helmet was like running a marathon in heavy clothing.
He added that protection must particularly be given at grassroots level to young players where facilities are not as good as at international level.
The scientists say players in India, Australia and the Caribbean will probably face the most serious heat-related risks, while English cricket will be more affected by heavier storms.
They point out that more erratic rainfall has already led to wash-outs and flooded pitches with Storm Desmond bringing severe problems to more than 50 community clubs in the UK in 2015.
It is a growing problem worldwide for the sport. Club and school cricket were cancelled in South Africa in 2018 because of drought, play was suspended in a test match in Delhi, India, because of air pollution and in Australia they have increased the number of drinks breaks in some games.
Meanwhile, on the hottest day on record earlier this year when temperatures hit 38.7C and England’s men played Ireland at Lord’s, MCC members in the pavilion were allowed to remove their jackets for a second year in a row.
The report’s authors have also called for cricket clubs to switch to renewable energy and to set up a disaster fund to help communities affected by climate change.
They were supported by Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park, who said the sport needed to start planning now and using green energy.
“Cricket pavilions could be ideal place to put solar panels on the roofs so clubs could benefit from free sunlight for their electricity.
“They could also install solar assisted heat pumps to get their hot water as well as insulating the pavilion rooms with spray foam to cut heat loss and reduce their energy bills,” he added. “All are easy to install and have low maintenance costs.”
For more information about green energy call Ron on 0845 474 6641.