Jos Buttler supported the decision to call off Australia’s clash against England without a ball being bowled, saying the conditions were not “fit to play” and that “any bowler who bowled” would have been concerned about the playing surface.
“She [the umpires] had some major concerns and, I think, rightly so,” said Buttler, after a series of inspections led to a shutdown at 8:49 p.m. local time. “The outfield is very wet, there are some areas within the 30-yard circle that were not suitable for playing. As much as we all want to play cricket, it has to be safe and it certainly wasn’t.”
The shutdown followed heavy rain that has plagued Melbourne over the past two days. Although the rain had abated by the time this game was to begin, the outfield remained too wet, and both captains were reluctant to risk their fast bowlers in damp conditions.
It wasn’t until nearly two hours later that the game was officially canceled, after yet another wave effectively made the decision for everyone involved. It also meant that on a day that should have been a double header not a single ball had been bowled, with heavy afternoon showers precluding the possibility of playing between Ireland and Afghanistan earlier in the evening.
Chris Brown, Joel Wilson and Aleem Dar inspect the outfield after heavy rain•Getty Images
“I think any bowler who has bowled there would have been concerned,” Buttler said. “Player safety is very important and it was not suitable to play, be it our bowlers or the Australian bowlers. I think the right decision was made.”
For context. Melbourne is on track for the city’s wettest October since 1975. It has experienced more than double its monthly long-term average. It is also the first time in recorded history that Victorian Premier cricket has seen five consecutive washouts to start a season.
This latest washout means England have just one win in three games and, barring further weather interruptions, will likely need two wins out of two to secure themselves a semi-final spot. It’s not a position any of the tournament favorites at this stage might have expected, but a DLS defeat to Ireland and this washout means their margin of error has shrunk considerably. Still, the England captain said he had no complaints about the angle the weather had pushed his way.
“I don’t really have any frustrations. I’m not a weather expert in Australia at this time of year, but we all want to play full games of cricket. Of course we do. Of course we play a sport which is open air and the elements are a big part of our game, they influence the surfaces we play on, they influence the conditions in an intriguing way, and that’s what makes our sport really unique.
“But now unfortunately we’ve had two matches that have been affected by the weather. You don’t want to be involved in those matches, but it’s going to happen wherever you play in the world. Certainly in some places where you play, you’re generally it will be affected by some weather at some point and it’s a shame tonight especially for everyone involved.
“But there was no pressure from anyone” [to play today]. Common sense prevailed. As disappointing as it is, as I have just said, the conditions were not suitable for everyone involved.”
While the ICC will be relieved that last week’s exciting India-Pakistan match dodged the wet conditions in the MCG, this was the other big game that the tournament wished the rain had stayed away from. Even with intermittent rain throughout the day, 37,565 fans showed up for the evening game, with unofficial estimates suggesting crowds of up to 60,000 could have been possible had the weather been favorable. They were instead left to huddle around the upper terraces, seeking shelter for much of the evening in cold conditions, watching multiple field inspections that never amounted to much.
Buttler said he sympathized with the fans and insisted England would have rather played the game, regardless of the outcome, than take a draw without a ball being bowled.
“All the fans who came to watch this match live, and everyone who wanted to watch it on TV, is disappointing for them. Especially for players: Australia v England in the MCG is a World Cup game that you have to win, no matter how big it is in your mind. career. It’s the matches you want to be involved in, no matter the outcome. It’s something you want to experience because you don’t know how often those kinds of opportunities come. There’s an element of sadness that you can’t win, lose or draw.”
But he was adamant that as long as England controlled their own destiny, they would not concern themselves with other results.
“Until something is completely out of our control, we don’t worry about it,” he said. “We know we have two games to play. And we want to win those two games and give ourselves the best chance of going through to the next round.”
Danyal Rasool is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000