Reserve day - what is it?

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Reserve day

It’s no secret that cricket matches can last a whole day and several days – this is the charm and main difficulty of this sport because this duration tests the endurance of the players and the spectators. But not everyone knows that the reserve day can also be assigned during a cricket match – additional days that increase the duration of the match.

What is a reserve day in cricket?

This term can be understood in two meanings:

  • As an extra day of the game, which the referees appoint if something interferes with the normal course of the match – for example, bad weather.
  • As a free day in the teams’ schedule, which is used as an additional playing day.

As a rule, it becomes clear whether a reserve day will be needed even before the start of the match. For example, before the ODI tournament, which consisted of 7 matches and was held in 2018, England and Sri Lanka teams agreed to include reserve days in the match program. The reason was the weather forecast, which promised to interrupt the competition, not allowing the athletes to play the required number of overs.

Even though reserve days are included in the competition program, both teams should give their best on the main days. Because even reserve days that teams have scheduled are only applied if the planned number of overs has not been completed on a specific game day.

The rules for assigning a reserve day are as follows:

  • There is always a toss at the start of a match. With a coin toss, the captains decide which team will hit or serve first. If the match is interrupted after the coin has been tossed, no re-throw will be made on the reserve day unless the captains of both teams agree to carry out a new toss.
  • If the match was interrupted and then resumed with a reduction of overs and then interrupted anyway due to bad weather before the game started. The total number of overs played on the reserve day must be complete. As originally planned, before the match was decided to be shortened.
  • If the match was stopped and resumed with a reduced number of overs, and bad weather prevented the match from being played after the first over after the restart was started, then the reduced number of overs will be played on the reserve day.

Occasions where reserve days were assigned in cricket

Reserve days in cricket are quite rare. They are only used if a significant part of the match has been lost due to rain or other bad weather that made the game impossible. At the request of spectators or tournament organizers, they cannot be appointed at the whim of one or even both teams. However, reserve days are used in both regional matches and games at the highest level. For example, a sixth reserve day was used in the ICC World Test Championship 2021 in the match between New Zealand and India. He was appointed due to heavy rain pouring down on Southampton while the match took place at the Rose Bowl. The bad weather broke out already on June 18, on the very first day when the match was supposed to start. The rain ended only in the second half of the day, but the judges decided to cancel the planned game because the field became unusable. So it became clear that it was impossible to do without a reserve day. On the sixth day, the winner was determined – it was New Zealand for the first time in history.

A reserve day was also set for the 2019 Cricket World Cup semi-finals when India lost to Pakistan and was eliminated from the title race.

As a rule, reserve days are assigned only for the most important, decisive matches and are rarely used in bilateral series matches.

The main purpose of the reserve day is to ensure that teams can catch up and make the most of the extra overs. Reserve days are always very spectacular and tense because it is decided who will be the winner at this moment.

Nisha Bhavani
Author: Nisha Bhavani Position: Cricket Expert

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