It’s a very common phenomenon to call it a day for cricket matches when it rains. But matches have been stopped for other reasons too, including some weird ones.
Here is a list of such incidents till date which made an impression:
1885 – Cambridge University vs England XI
As the match started with England batting first, the first three wickets were undone within an hour. But when the captain of the side came to bat and was stumped for 27, he requested the umpire to measure the pitch. Umpires accepted the request and the results showed that the pitch was longer by more than a yard. The match was restarted freshly, giving John Studd and Walter Wright the opportunity to hold the record of being dismissed twice before lunch.
1904 – Yorkshire v Kent
One of those few matches which were obliterated is the one in question here. The pitch of the ongoing test match seemed to repair itself after day two. As the teams stepped on to the ground, the captain of Kent, C. Marsham observed that some spots that were prominent at the end of day two, were filled up by day three. Both the teams decided to stop the match and nobody was accused; blaming it entirely upon climate.
1939- County Championship
The year speaks for itself- it was the Second World War going on and the County Championship too. Roads were blocked by people relocating, cities were getting evacuated and there was no sense to hold a championship but it started, and to end. After an in vain try, the series was called off and players who showed up were sent home.
1969- Pakistan v England
England, after cancelling their South Africa tour, went on to Pakistan for another ceased tournament. In the city of Karachi that was not quite stable politically, the teams went on playing Test match till the start of the third day. Mob broke down gates, entered the ground forcefully. The stumps were demolished along with the pitch. The England team headed back home that day in the evening.
1975 – England v Australia
It was the last day of the third Test when the grounds-men pulled back the cover to find a demolished pitch. Campaigning for the release of a convict named George Davis, the protestors had dug holes in the pitch and filled them up with engine oil. The match was mutually called off. The convict was freed but again imprisoned as he was caught red handed.
1996 – India v Sri Lanka
One of the black days of Indian cricket was the India vs Sri Lanka semi final match of 1996 world cup. The home team was vividly supported by the crowd at Eden Gardens but the support soon turned to sabotage as team India tumbled down like dominos with 22 runs for 7 wickets. The spectators supporting India lost their cool and stands were set to fire. The teams were taken off the field and the match was awarded to Sri Lanka quarter hours later.
2006 – England v Pakistan
Another match between England and Pakistan that made history for all the wrong reasons is the one at The Oval. On the fourth day umpire Darrell Hair, suspecting ball tampering by the Pak bowlers, took 5 runs off their score. Though they continued to play but after the tea break the English batsmen took the field with the umpires but the Pakistan team refused to play. The match was called off henceforth but the sparks lingered for long for the accusations.
So these are some infamous incidents of cricket when matters apart from nature played villain to cease cricket. Cricket is called a gentlemen’s game and should be played and spectated with the right spirit. We hope not to look forward to such incidents anymore and may the game of clean cricket prevail further.