Darren Gough - World Cup rain excuses just do not wash with me

No 1 opener: England's Jason Roy.
No 1 opener: England's Jason Roy.
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THE excuses that the ICC have come out with regarding the decision not to schedule reserve days in the World Cup are just laughable – I just could not stop.

They have said that the reason they have decided not to is because it would ‘lengthen the tournament considerably.’

The issue for me is that somebody in this World Cup is going to get knocked out purely because they got just a point in a rained-off game.

Darren Gough

No, it would not as you play every five to six days. They could have started the tournament knowing that there would be reserve days.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said that several factors play a key role in accommodating reserve days. Increasing the length of the tournament is one, but it should not as you can factor reserve days into the plan and every team only plays every six days. It is a load of rubbish.

It has been said reserve days are ‘complex to deliver.’ It would not have been if it was organised from the start.

Issues regarding ‘pitch preparation’, ‘team recovery’ and ‘travel days’ have also been mentioned in terms of the decision not to schedule travel days.

Travel days? We played every second or third day when we used to tour around the world in one-day international cricket. What would you rather have as a team? A game rained off or the opportunity to get two points?

The issue for me is that somebody in this World Cup is going to get knocked out purely because they got just a point in a rained-off game.

New Zealand would have been happy with a point against India, but it has affected Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies.

The World Cup should be about getting results as much as possible.

Another reason for not scheduling reserve days is ‘accommodation and venue availability.’ What has that to do with it? If the reserve days had been in the planning from the start, the venue would have been available.

Everything that the ICC say, you can counter. Issues regarding volunteers and match-official and umpire availability have also been mentioned. But initial planning could have solved it straightaway.

One admittedly far-fetched idea that I came up with was having a reserve day before the semi-finals – if games had been rained off for two days – where a stadium can stage 20-over ‘play-offs’ in effect. Everyone affected could play on that day then and then you would hopefully get the four best teams in the semi-finals.

As it stands, someone might miss out because of a rained-off game – or someone could sneak in with a point from a rain-off and I would hate that.

With all the money from the ICC in cricket, I also think that every World Cup-hosting country should have an indoor stadium – to cover for a T20 type date at the end for all rained off games.

Imagine, if you did not have a reserve date in the Football World Cup and teams would just have to take a draw. It would be ridiculous.

When the weather has relented, the action has been very interesting and here is my team of the tournament so far:

I have judged it on games played and results and not on reputation.

My opener would be Jason Roy, who has been in outstanding form with a 54 and 153 and he would be partnered by India’s Rohit Sharma – he has been measured and controlled like Roy and is one of the best ODI players around.

It would mean David Warner, Aaron Finch and Shikhar Dhawan missing out, all of whom have been excellent. But Sharma has played better innings for the team; for me, Warner has been a bit too watchful.

Joe Root is in at three; he is a massive player for England and by him playing the way he does, everyone else plays around him.

Then it is Steve Smith. He has held the inconsistent Australian middle order together as Glenn Maxwell, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis and Shaun Marsh have not come to the party yet.

Given the pressure he has had when coming to the crease, Smith has been magnificent.

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan would be at five – he has been outstanding with bat and ball and I would have Jos Buttler as my wicketkeeper/batsman.

He can change any game at the drop of a hat and when the opposition see him coming in, they just want to get him out as quickly as possible.

Ben Stokes would be at seven. At some point, whether it be with the bat, ball or in the field, he has changed a game. He has been magnificent. If he does not gets wickets, he gets runs.

Pat Cummins is in at eight. He has taken wickets consistently and is going to be a real danger to England in the Ashes. He has bowled with great pace and showed a great mixture. He can also bat down the order.

Then I have picked Jofra Archer, who is proving a bit of a revelation with his explosive pace. He gets in just ahead of Mitchell Starc.

India’s Yuzvendra Chahal is also in my team after six wickets in two games and he has looked the best spinner, although I expect Adil Rashid to finish strongly.

My No 11 is Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir – outstanding.