Boos greeted the news of the abandonment of the first one-day international between England and Ireland at Headingley as frustrated supporters left a ground basked in evening sunshine.
The run ups at one end were deemed unsafe and the umpires called off play just after 5pm without a ball being bowled. Heavy rain all week, and in the morning in Leeds, put the game in jeopardy but with the weather clearing in the evening there was the hope a reduced overs match would go ahead before the 5.32pm cut off.
The rain stopped around 2.15pm but after two inspections, and groundstaff covering the run ups at the Kirkstall Lane End with sawdust, the umpires called off the match just as the sun started to poke through. It was decided by the officials there would not be time for the run ups to dry enough for play to go ahead safely and there be time for a 20 overs match.
“I was pretty hopeful to be honest, I saw the forecast earlier this morning and thought it would stop raining earlier. So I was very disappointed that we didn’t get a game on,” said Zak Crawley, who will now have to wait until Friday’s second ODI at Trent Bridge to captain England for the first time.
“It was just the run-up this end, really. It wasn’t fit for play and I think that was probably right in the end. It was very wet and would have churned up if we’d played on it. It wouldn’t have been fit for the bowlers. It’s disappointing. You’ve got guys tearing in there and you don’t want guys not performing at their best, that’s not what people come to see. I think as soon as there’s any doubt, they probably made the right decision.”
Yorkshire were expecting a crowd of around 14,000. They had sold 10,000 tickets and another 4,000 had been given away to local cricket clubs and schools. The club are insured for the losses but after a troubled summer, and with the club experiencing financial difficulties as it looks for new investment, this was a blow.
It is not the first time fans have left Headingley angry at a lack of play. In 2009 the club was forced to defend a new drainage system when an ODI against West Indies was abandoned in sunshine at 3pm due to overnight torrential rain.
It was a disappointment for Yorkshire’s Joe Root, who had made himself available for this game in order to find some form before the World Cup. Root has looked short of timing and rhythm since the Ashes and was given the option to rest for this series but decided he would play on his home ground to give himself more time at the crease before leaving for India next week.
Root will probably now take the chance to rest and miss the final two ODIs against Ireland at Trent Bridge and Bristol. England have picked an experimental squad for this series because they rested front line players and also decided not to select those who were involved in important championship matches for their counties.
England v Ireland: As it did not happen . . .
04:58 PM BST
Boos greeted the news of the match being abandoned at Headingley due to a wet run up at the Kirkstall Lane End. Speaking to the tv crews who have been out there, it sounds like the ground was pretty saturated and both sides were happy for it to be called off. Questions will be asked about whether the run ups were covered properly because the weather is clear now and the rain over for the day. Ticket holders will be refunded, and Yorkshire insured for the loss but you can understand fans’ frustration. They sit through the rain and then go home when it is dry.
04:56 PM BST
Anyone who paid for a ticket
Will be entitled to a full refund. There were lots of boos at the announcement but, as Mark Butcher says, the rain had been so heavy they could not dry the ends in time because there was no wind and precious little sunshine.
The final two games take place on Saturday at Trent Bridge at 10.30am and on Tuesday at the County Ground in Bristol at 12.30pm.
04:51 PM BST
No play possible at all today.
04:47 PM BST
The body language of the umpires during the pitch inspection
Screams at us to be pessimistic. There are still wet patches and when they press down with the balls of their feet it rises to the surface.
04:37 PM BST
Only Joe Root of this team has played a home ODI against Ireland
And he averages 122 in his two outings, both six years ago.
04:20 PM BST
Bazball cries fowl
04:16 PM BST
Official confirmation from the correspondent
Further inspection at 4.45pm. They seem concerned about the run ups at one end - the Kirkstall Lane End. Buckets of sawdust have been poured on the saturated ground. I suspect 5pm start, around 20 overs per side.
04:13 PM BST
Another inspection at 4.45pm
Lots of sawdust is being put down on the run-ups and the most saturated parts of the ground.
Dominic Cork says ‘If you put me on the spot, maybe we’ll get a 20-over game. But only maybe. It’s very wet.’
They have to start playing by 5.32pm or it will be abandoned.
04:08 PM BST
Still waiting to hear the outcome of the pitch inspection
But Cricinfo is reporting some positive news – the popping crease lines are currently being painted.
03:44 PM BST
Further mopping work to be done
3:15pm ➡️ 4pm
The umpires have had a look...and will have another look in 30 minutes time! 🕓 pic.twitter.com/dHH4mx3WEc
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 20, 2023
03:25 PM BST
Inspection begets inspection
The decision at 3.15pm is that there will be a further inspection at 4pm.
If they start at 4.30pm we might be able to get a 25-over match.
03:10 PM BST
Sky is currently showing India vs England at the 2011 World Cup
Here’s Nick Hoult’s match report from that wonderful tie, if you’re interested.
02:54 PM BST
All the covers are off
It is still very wet but they are currently mowing the pitch.
02:45 PM BST
Hopefully this is good news for play before 4pm
The rain has now stopped and it is looking bright at Headingley 🙌
The covers have started to come off and an inspection will take place at 15:15pm 🤞 #ENGvIRE
— Yorkshire CCC (@YorkshireCCC) September 20, 2023
02:26 PM BST
Water off a Duckett's back
Lots of free tickets have been given out today – some local cricket clubs were handed six each – and there are a few school groups in Headingley today.There is a bit of a pointless end of season feel to this series. No doubt it looked a good idea to squeeze three more matches before the World Cup but then Ireland failed to qualify and England rested their players. Watching how England captain Zak Crawley – a phrase nobody would have predicted a few weeks ago – gets on adds interest and Ben Duckett has a good chance to show he should be going to the World Cup. You could argue he’s a better pick at this stage than Harry Brook.
02:24 PM BST
And wouldn't you know it ...
A shower hits Headingley again. Hopefully it’s just passing through.
Bad news from Headingley...
The rain has returned and it is heavier this time.
Updates to follow when the rain has stopped 🤞 https://t.co/8F6koTzPlN
— Yorkshire CCC (@YorkshireCCC) September 20, 2023
02:23 PM BST
Pitch inspection in an hour
Scheduled for 3.15pm, pending no further showers.
02:15 PM BST
The umpires are out and the mopping up operation begins
02:05 PM BST
Hold up – better news
Play has to start before 5.32pm for there to be enough time for a reduced overs game. The mop up operation has started, the rain has relented and there is a hint of blue sky. Another band of rain is due soon, but I think we will get a game of sorts. Joe Root bats at three looking for form. Somehow I think making himself available for this game has drawn further attention to his lack of form. Better to have rested for the World Cup. I can’t see much benefit from playing against Ireland on an end of season Headingley pitch.
02:01 PM BST
It’s hokey-cokey time again:
Scrap that, it's hammering it down again. pic.twitter.com/bct4JC6ygB
— England's Barmy Army 🏴🎺 (@TheBarmyArmy) September 20, 2023
01:52 PM BST
I'm handing over to Rob Bagchi
Hopefully Rob will be able to bring you news of a revised time for the toss and, thereafter, some actual cricket.
01:40 PM BST
The rain is relenting
And the groundstaff are starting what looks like the beginnings of a clean-up operation. If, as warned earlier by Mark Butcher, that clean-up operation takes two hours, that gives us a start time of around 3.30pm-3.45pm.
01:28 PM BST
Photographer's gonna photograph
01:19 PM BST
Potential start time
We started losing overs at 1pm, so this will now be a reduced game.
Let’s say the rain stops at about 2.30pm. Play could then start by 4pm earliest? Perhaps? So could be about 30 overs per side. Not sure that’s really what Joe Root wanted when he signed up for this one.
Reminder: the latest possible start time is 5.32pm, by which point this will be a T20.
01:09 PM BST
England's World Cup fixtures
While we’re waiting for any news about today’s game, here’s the full list of England’s fixtures in the round-robin stage of the World Cup. For full details, see our comprehensive guide to the tournament.
It has also been announced today that there will be highlights of the World Cup on free-to-air TV. Channel 5 are supplying them.
Thursday, October 5
England v New Zealand – Ahmedabad
Tuesday, October 10
England v Bangladesh – Dharamsala
Saturday, October 14
England v Afghanistan – Delhi
Saturday, October 21
England v South Africa – Mumbai
Thursday, October 26
England v Sri Lanka – Bengaluru
Sunday, October 29
India v England – Lucknow
Saturday, November 4
England v Australia – Ahmedebad
Wednesday, November 8
England v Netherlands – Pune
Sunday, November 12
England v Pakistan – Kolkata
Wednesday, November 15
Semi-final 1, (First plays fourth) – Mumbai
Thursday, November 16
Semi-final 2, (Second plays third) – Kolkata
Sunday, November 19
Final – Ahmedabad
12:53 PM BST
Now raining hard at Headingley
Proper wet now. People are flocking out of the stands and under cover.
This very heavy rain will make the clean-up operation lengthier. Apparently it’s pretty wet underfoot already, which is not good news. Mark Butcher just estimated that the clean-up operation could take two hours...and that’s from when the rain stops.
12:49 PM BST
Allow me to plug this book
12:46 PM BST
Some movement from the groundstaff....
...but not much movement from the grey clouds overhead I’m afraid. Here’s the updated prediction from the Met Office.
12:41 PM BST
Ireland focused on 2027 World Cup
Curtis Campher has been chatting on Sky Sports about his new role at No 3.
“We’ve been watching the rain for the past four days,” he says of Ireland’s build-up to this series. “It hasn’t been the best prep but that’s international cricket
“It’s a big chance for us to restart the cycle and for guys to put up their hands for the next four-year cycle [to the 2027 World Cup].”
As for his new role at first drop: “No 3 is a new challenge for me. In four years time I’ll be 27 years old and hopefully a big more cemented in the side.
“Facing the swinging ball is a new thing for me. But the success I’ve had when we’ve been a few wickets down ahs given me a base. I’ve always been No 4, 5 or 6 but I’m looking forward to batting at No 3.”
12:23 PM BST
Groundsmen slept at Headingley
According to Simon Doull, groundsmen slept at Headingley overnight last night to make sure that the covers did not blow off the pitch in the high winds.
The hope at the moment is that the rain stops in the next half hour or so, and that the game can therefore get under way at perhaps 2pm, after a drying-up operation.
12:20 PM BST
Will Jacks: I've got to remember the rules
Will Jacks has just been interviewed by Mark Butcher on Sky Sports. The main theme of his comments was that the players, particularly in a young team like this, have barely any experience in the 50-over format.
“It’s a nice opportunity,” Jacks said. “World Cups go in cycles so there might be more opportunities going forward. We want to put our names in the hat for future selection.”
And speaking about his lack of experience in the format (he says he has played just two 50-over matches in the past five years) he added: “You’ve got to remember the rules, but it’s basically T20 cricket but goes on for a bit longer. It’s about not panicking if you face a maiden.
“I’ll look to Joe Root to learn about how to pace an innings. We don’t play that much 50-over cricket. We’ve got to learn on the job, basically.”
Sounds like England aren’t planning on calling him up for India though.
“I’ve not been spoken to about being a reserve for the World Cup.”
12:04 PM BST
We start losing overs at 1pm
The toss is indeed delayed, but as long as the players are on the field before 1pm there will be no overs lost. The latest possible start is 5.32pm, by which point this will be reduced to a 20-over match.
Here’s the scene at Headingley right now.
11:57 AM BST
Toss at 12pm...in theory
It’s spitting a little at Headingley this morning though, so highly likely that the toss and thus the start of the match will be delayed.
Here’s how the Met Office see the next few hours.
11:55 AM BST
Ireland won't even be at the World Cup
If these three matches feel, dare I say it, pretty meaningless for England supporters, they are arguably even more irrelevant to the Irish camp.
Ireland, who have been something of a sensation in previous global white-ball tournaments, have not qualified for this year’s World Cup. There are only ten teams at the tournament; India qualified as hosts and seven other teams qualified on the basis of their results in ODI cricket over the past four years.
The remaining two spots were decided via a qualifying tournament held in Zimbabwe earlier this year. Ireland didn’t even make it through to the second stage of that competition, finishing fourth in their group behind Sri Lanka, Scotland and Oman.
11:38 AM BST
The England squad for today
Here’s that group that Crawley is talking about, in likely batting order for today’s game.
Phil Salt (wk)
Zak Crawley (capt)
Tom Hartley/George Scrimshaw
By contrast, here’s the squad picked for the World Cup, which starts in a fortnight.
Jos Buttler (Lancashire – captain) Moeen Ali (Warwickshire) Gus Atkinson (Surrey) Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire) Harry Brook (Yorkshire) Sam Curran (Surrey) Liam Livingstone (Lancashire) Dawid Malan (Yorkshire) Adil Rashid (Yorkshire) Joe Root (Yorkshire) Ben Stokes (Durham) Reece Topley (Surrey) David Willey (Northamptonshire) Mark Wood (Durham) Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).
11:36 AM BST
'We want this group to become the main team'
For Crawley and the rest of today’s team, this series against Ireland could be the gateway to future opportunities.
“We’re trying to get this group to become the main team one day,” he said. “We’re looking at the future and trying to emulate those guys above by doing the same things, playing the same positive way and trying to copy them as much as possible. I’ve just got to concentrate on getting runs this week. If I don’t get any runs then that makes it hard to do that.
“Hopefully I just perform well this week and what comes from there comes from there.”
Crawley admitted to feeling “shocked” when head coach Matthew Mott invited him to be captain, a rapid promotion for someone who was angling for nothing more ambitious than a place on the teamsheet.
But it reflects a growing feeling that he is one of the players who will lead English cricket forward in the years to come. When Root resigned from Test duty last year there was a lack of viable alternatives in the next generation, with successor Ben Stokes not only the best choice but the only one.
Ollie Pope has since been installed as his vice-captain in the red-ball format and Crawley has now joined his old childhood rival on the fast-track. He still remembers captaining his school Tonbridge against Pope’s Cranleigh side.
“It was a good game but they beat us. Popey got 100, obviously,” he recalled.
“So I’ve captained growing up and I’ve captained a few times for Kent, but that’s the extent of my experience. The good thing Baz McCullum has done, and Stokesy, is they’ve encouraged everyone to speak up.
“You feel very comfortable speaking up in the dressing room. More people have come out of the woodwork and led from the front, there’s leaders everywhere you look and that’s a good sign.
“I remember Shane Warne saying you should always think like a captain when you’re playing, I’ve done that since I was a kid.”
11:28 AM BST
Root's bid to find form
Theoretically, today’s match is a warm-up for the ODI World Cup, which starts in a fortnight’s time in India. In reality, it’s anything but. Because Joe Root is the only member of England’s World Cup squad playing in these three matches against Ireland.
The ECB, not unreasonably, values resting =players more highly than flogging them through a three-match series in late September. The same is probably not true of the broadcasters, however.
England’s team is a weird hybrid of experience and potential, all operating under the leadership of Zak Crawley, who has barely any captaincy experience beyond his schoolboy days at Tonbridge.
Root specifically requested that he be included in the squad for today’s game (which is being played on his home ground). He knows he needs to find some form, having scored 39 runs in his four innings in the recent series against New Zealand.
“If anyone has forgotten how good he is, that’s their fault,” Crawley said. “He’s just using it to find some rhythm - he’s a big rhythm player.”
Root’s 162 caps aside, the remaining 12 players in today’s squad have just 38 one-day appearances between them at international level, with four uncapped newcomers and three more who have turned out just once.
Even Crawley has only played three ODIs, back in 2021 when he was brought into a team decimated by Covid. He says he is therefore happy to be going into today’s match with Root’s experienced shoulders to lean on.
“I love spending time with Rooty. To have him in the side as a batsman and former captain is going to be tremendously useful for me and the team,” he said.
“It’s great having him here. Especially so for me as captain, because I can lean on him for that kind of stuff. I played under him for a long time and stood next to him at slip when he was Test captain. It’s great to have him in the team and I will look to him. He’s a great cricket brain and experienced guy.
“No-one works harder than Joe, that’s why he’s the best. We all try to emulate him as much as we can. He’s a great person to learn from and a role model for us all. I hope he gets what he needs from it too.”