• November 28, 2023

Sport 2050: Beneath the dome – how cricket could look due to climate change

Cricket was warned. Sport will be one of the worst hit Climate change when nothing is done.

What will cricket look like in 2050?

BBC Sport envisioned a version of the future in which smart “bio domes” create an atmosphere like we’ve never seen before.

Ahead of its opening earlier this month, Melbourne’s Dome of Cricket was hailed as the savior of test cricket in Australia.

But just days after the first ball was hit, it was labeled a “real problem” for the sport, according to Australia’s captain Bobby Iluka.

The controversial dome costs A $ 3 billion [£1.65bn] is designed to not only protect players and fans from extreme heat and create a controlled environment, but also to reduce the increasing number of days lost to forest fire pollution.

But it has already been criticized by gamers and fans alike, both for its impact on the game and for technical difficulties with the air conditioning system caused by the dramatically varying crowds.

So what happened in the dome?

After the fourth ash test drawn with England, Iluka became the best-known critic to date, insisting that it was “impossible” to prepare for the conditions in the dome.

“On the first day, the first meeting with 100,000 people inside, it was almost hotter and more humid than outside and it was uncomfortable to play in it, let alone watch. I saw that many fans had reached out to leave,” said Iluka.

“By the afternoon, changes had clearly been made to the session, but the temperature dropped quickly.

“These are not good conditions for a sport or an athlete, but out there it was impossible to predict what the ball would do from one session to the next – we were basically lucky.”

When asked if he would like to play in the dome again, Iluka was usually blunt: “No, we have a real problem here.

“We moved the ashes later in the summer (we lost the ‘Boxing Day / New Year’s Day’ element which was such a big part of cricket here), and while that helped in other areas without domes, I’m not sure if indoor cricket is the future … at least not yet. “

Under the Dome: Cricket faces a challenging future in the mid-centuryUnder the Dome: Cricket faces a challenging future in the mid-century

Reaction – what did people think of the dome?

By 2050, cricket had already experimented with holding test matches on six days instead of the current five days in order to allow more intervals and shorten the session duration.

But Iluka dismissed this concept as “too long and demands too much from players and fans alike”.

Instead, he suggested, “I would prefer a complete reversal if we were to make cricket a winter sport. I know there would be calendar conflicts with the European season, but it is the best of a number of bad solutions.”

“Cricket is a sport so conditionally connected that playing indoors feels wrong.”

Imagined tweet from a cricket fan

The fans weren’t amused either. Some felt so uncomfortable that they left the dome and, as a result, missed the gates, while others were impressed with the facility.

Imagined tweet from a cricket fan

The self-powered solar panel dome has been defended by its private owners who have built indoor sports infrastructure in countries around the world to help counteract adverse climates.

They describe the technology as modern, but admit that the technology is still a work in progress and would need to be adjusted over time.

Imagined tweet from a cricket fan

However, they insisted that given the increased climate impact and forest fires, their stadiums represent the future of not only cricket, but perhaps sports around the world as well.

Cricket stadium designA nature reserve? Activists want the dome to be used again

Eva Bakker, captain of the Dutch women’s team, who recently played in a test event, said that when the stadium is less full it is often almost too cold. She also indicated that the pitch did not deteriorate naturally.

“Our understanding of cricket decisions as outfielders, bowlers or batsmen needs to change dramatically when we play indoors. Test cricket is a real challenge in these hotter countries,” said Bakker.

“The game has exploded in my home country as a summer sport and in other lesser-known areas like Scandinavia, but because of its traditional core areas like Australia, India etc. I don’t know the answer as the temperature rises.”

A group of eco-conscious sports fans, WIDES (Western Australia Defending Earth & Sport), has now launched a campaign against the future use of the dome and recruited the support of celebrities to turn it into a rescue center for animals affected by the forest fires.

Organizer Lou Olsen told BBC Sport: “I love and want to save Test Cricket, but it didn’t work. It’s very important that we save the animals. Let’s make something good out of this and use it as a sanctuary / bio dome.”

The context behind our World Cup story follows ...

Why did we choose this story? – The expert’s view

Kate Sambrook – Priestley International Center for Climate

Of all the major sports played on the field, cricket will be hardest hit by climate change – whether it is played in England, Australia, India or South Africa.

Extreme heat, in particular, is a major problem for players as it not only affects the condition of the field of play, but also affects athletes’ performance and poses significant risks to their health.

In combination with high humidity, the risk of heat illness, which is characterized by nausea, dizziness, vomiting and fainting and can even lead to death, increases as the environment becomes hotter and more humid.

However, this is not just something players will have to endure in the future – extreme heat is affecting international cricket here and now.

The English captain Joe Root is being treated for dehydration in AustraliaEnglish captain Joe Root is treated during the 2017/18 Ashes in Australia. He would be taken to the hospital later

During the Sydney Ashes Test in January 2018, the English captain Joe Root was taken to the hospital suffer from dehydration and viral gastroenteritis when the air temperature reaches 42 ° C.

A heat tracker in the middle of the floor showed a reading of 57.6 ° C.

While cricket has always suffered hot periods in the past, higher concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere increase the intensity of the summer heat and pose an enormous risk to the longevity of the game as we know it.

What is the science about climate change behind our scenario?

Air pollution from forest fires is becoming more common

Matt McGrath is the environmental correspondent for BBC News

While heat stress is a major threat to future sporting events, air quality is another factor that can negatively impact competitors.

We have seen examples of in the past few years Athletes affected through smoky air from forest fires in Australia and the United States.

Climate change is likely to experience this more frequently.

If carbon emissions stay on a very high path, we could see 35% more days of high risk of forest fires around the world by the middle of this century.

This poses a threat, not just to places we currently associate with fires, such as California, parts of Australia, and southern Europe.

Smoke from fires can rise up to 23 km into the atmosphere and be transported across continents in the wind.

These fires not only produce smoke, but also large amounts of particulate matter. These tiny fragments, 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream, making asthma worse, and causing an increase in heart attacks.

The arid conditions and water shortages that the fire weather days of the future will create are also affecting the sports arenas we know and love.

In many cities, attending a sporting event can become very uncomfortable due to an aspect of climate change called the heat island effect.

All streets and buildings in a city absorb and give off much more heat from the sun than a rural landscape.

This heat island effect can be up to 5 ° C, which can make visiting a sports stadium in a big city in hot regions of the world uncomfortable at best.

One important thing to remember about climate change is that it will affect the number of warm days we experience around the world.

The recent record breaking warm summers in the US, Europe and Asia are likely to be far more common.

Research shows that 50% of summers in the 2030s will be warmer than the hottest in the past 40 years.

By 2050, any summer will likely be warmer than what we’ve seen recently.


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