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Weather, Bad light

Owner: P Freeman

The most depressing message, for players and spectators alike, is rain stopped play, but it is a fact that cricket is more at the mercy of the elements than most outdoor sports.
The umpires are the final judges on whether the pitch and the ground are fit to play on, whether the weather is fit to play in, and whether the light is fit to see by!
There is a world of difference between conditions being merely unsuitable for play and them being unreasonable or dangerous. It is the latter two that will attract the attention of the umpires. The umpires have what is known legally as a 'duty of care' towards the players and if they consider that there is an obvious and foreseeable risk of someone being injured, they must suspend play immediately.
This judgement is one that umpires will take very seriously. If they believe that there is a real chance of the bowler slipping in the footholds, or the batsmen being unable to hit the ball properly or run safely, then there clearly is that obvious and foreseeable risk of injury. If the umpires do decide to suspend play, that decision is final. Spectators may not appreciate the fact that there is still no play some time after the rain has ceased, but they are not the ones taking the risk of slipping over while bowling or batting and possibly sustaining a career-threatening injury.
A sharp shower, leaving the ball wet and the grass a bit slippery may result in unsuitable conditions for the fielding side but hardly unreasonable or dangerous ones. If the umpires decide conditions are unsuitable, they will inform the captains who then take the decision to continue or not. If they both wish to carry on (or just the batting captain in the case of unsuitable light) then that is what will happen. Umpires are often blamed for 'bringing the players off' when all they have done is decided that conditions are unsuitable and then left it to the captains.
If play has continued as a result of a request by the captains, either one of them can appeal to the umpires later on. If conditions are the same, or worse, than they were when the umpires' previous decision was taken, the umpires may uphold the appeal. In the case of the batting side wishing to bat on and then changing their minds, the umpires will apply the same test - are conditions the same or worse than they were earlier?
Umpires are usually anxious to re-start play as soon as safely possible, and are instructed, under the Laws, to make inspections at frequent intervals to check on conditions.