World Cup weather watch: English sky looks promising for cricket

The Cricket World Cup, from May 30 to July 14, is likely to be played in warmer conditions than in 1999 when England last hosted the tournament.

While the 1999 edition (May 14-June 20) saw low temperatures, and rain across the British Isles, leading to gloomy and damp conditions shadowing the event, the forecast this time looks promising.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Expect cricket fans to look skywards as the World Cup returns to England after two decades. The fickle English weather will again become a talking point for the tournament to be played from May 30 to July 14.

While the 1999 edition (May 14-June 20) saw low temperatures, and rain across the British Isles, leading to gloomy and damp conditions shadowing the event, the forecast this time looks promising.

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"There will be showers at times, with drier, sunnier settled spells," Marco Petagna, senior operational meteorologist, British Met Department, told Sportstar. 

The weather had a bearing on an important match in 1999. The Super-Six fixture between New Zealand and Zimbabwe at Leeds was abandoned due to rain. This gave both teams a point apiece while throwing up complicated qualifying permutations for the semifinals.

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Incidentally, a total of 152 County matches were scheduled in England in 1999, and only one was abandoned.

There has been a drastic change in weather patterns since. England had its fifth hottest year in 2017. Its 10 hottest years have been recorded since 2002.

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England, which also hosted the Champions Trophy in 2017 (June 1 - June 18), saw two matches — Australia vs New Zealand (June 2) in Birmingham and Australia vs Bangladesh (June 5) in London — getting washed out. 

In 2018, a total of 126 County matches were scheduled, of which two were abandoned. The rain did not affect games between May and July.

"We certainly seem to be getting more extreme events," said Petagna. "March 2019 was mild, wet but sunny, while April was slightly warmer than normal. May has been cooler, with near average sunshine and rainfall average or below."

England County stats by Rajneesh Gupta