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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 12:58 GMT

Fleming re-opens rain debate
Stephen Fleming
Fleming reserve days are needed in all stages of the competition
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has re-opened the debate over reserve days for rain-affected World Cup matches.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) decided there would be no reserve days in the first round of the tournament in order to avoid travel chaos for teams, supporters, tour officials and the media.

But Fleming has questioned the system which leaves teams sharing the points when games are abandoned - as happened in last week's Group B match between West Indies and Bangladesh.

"I would like to have seen, in hindsight, reserve days because that could have a huge bearing on the World Cup and I'm sure the organisers don't want that," Fleming said.

"The logistics of that, I'm not sure about because I'm speaking in general terms, but it can have an effect which I think is unfair."

Fleming cited the West Indies' abandoned game as a classic example of why reserve days were needed.

The Caribbean team were well on their way to a comfortable victory against a side who have not won a match for four years, when the heavens opened and robbed them of two points.

Groundstaff bring on the covers
Rain has played a big part at this World Cup so far
With the West Indies' rivals all claiming maximum points by beating Bangladesh, Carl Hooper's men are now under more pressure to win their final two matches if they are to progress to the Super Sixes stage.

Certainly, rain and reserve days have provided their more than their fair share of headaches for the casual observer in cricket.

The Duckworth-Lewis method has already been used on several occasions during this tournament to recalculate targets in rain-affected matches.

Teams are only forced to share the points for any first round group matches in which either side fails to complete the required 25 overs needed to constitute a match.

But reserve days remain in the schedule for the Super Six phase, semi-finals and final, meaning rained-off games could be restarted from scratch.

The system was used in last year's ICC Champions Trophy, when India and Sri Lanka were forced to share the honours after their reserve day was also rained out.

Strict entry rules

Fleming also voiced his concern over the level of influence the developing nations had on the World Cup, despite praising the ICC's decision to increase the number of teams at the tournament.

"Monday's performance by Kenya (beating Sri Lanka) will silence a few critics in showing that on any given day there is a chance for any side to beat any side," said the Kiwi captain.

"There is a place for them but I do think it has to be monitored.

"You have to be very stringent about how teams get through to the World Cup because it is the world stage.

"No-one wants to see too many one-sided matches so I think the ICC have a responsibility in looking after that."

Links to more World Cup stories


New Zealand v Bangladesh preview
25 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
Proteas endure rain pain
20 Feb 03 |  World Cup
Reserve days ruled out
04 Nov 02 |  Cricket
Here comes the rain again
30 Sep 02 |  ICC Champions Trophy

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