Cricket is generally a summer sport and as you can probably tell with my previous post discussing the outfield, it is an outdoor sport.
Adverse weather such as rain causes a disruption to the game, and can either reduce the duration or end the game completely. The major issue in regards to rain is the condition of the pitch. Large amounts of rain can cause damage to the wicket which may not be repairable to resume play.
Another major issue is the condition of the ball. As the outfield becomes wet, it is inevitable that there will be some contact between the ball and the ground, resulting in a wet ball. This causes a few issues such as the ball becoming slippery and also affecting the shine and seam of the ball. Using a wet and damaged ball can make it even more difficult to take wickets and restrict the flow of runs, not to mention make it harder for batsman to score as the outfield becomes slower.
Depending on the format of game being played, rain can have a major effect on the outcome of a match. For example, if two complete days are rained out of a five day test match, they are not accounted for. So what started out as a 5 day game has just been turned into a 3 day game. As you can probably tell, the tactics you employ would change drastically, and all this is based off a condition that you can’t control.
For a one day match given a rain delay, there is a system known as the Duckworth-Lewis. This system is fairly complex and results in modifications to the number of runs a team needs to score and how many overs they are given to do it in. It is based on their run rate before a rain delay and also takes into consideration the number of wickets that have already fallen. The above description should give you a basic idea of how it works.
The condition of the outfield and pitch after a period of slight rain is dependant on a few factors, namely the duration/intensity of the rain and the reaction of the ground staff. The first major action is to apply covers to the pitch as soon as possible to reduce the impact of the weather and maintain the condition of the pitch itself. After any rain, then rollers are used to pick up moisture form the infield and outfield and dry the ground so that play can be resumed.
The affect that moisture has on a pitch also varies. Suddenly, the ball may be spinning/seaming more and the movement obviously causing more trouble for the batsman. Possibly, a flat quick pitch may suddenly slow down and the batsmen then have to wait on the ball and play with more control.
There is also a widely circulating belief that conditions such as dew and cloud cover cause a change in match conditions as well. The idea is that the pitch is generally effected by these conditions (extra moisture) and this causes the ball to move to a greater degree. Although there were some studies conducted by NASA scientists that disproved this theory. Who is completely right though? We can’t say for certain at the moment.
The most important thing for any player is to understand how the weather conditions will affect the pitch and how it will change the way you play your game. As you can probably tell, the weather in general plays a huge role in the game of cricket. Your team could be heading for an easy victory, and suddenly, you could be fighting to save the game.
Make sure you consider your conditions.