I love the Australian summer. Every cricket follower based in the USA does. The matches are brilliantly timed and we all get to enjoy cricket during the prime time viewing hours.
Test cricket especially is a joy. You can watch two full sessions and still get to bed at a decent hour.
And so I was looking forward to the upcoming World Cup for a lot of reasons, but mostly because of the friendly time zones.
Unfortunately, the thought struck me the other day that while I watch a lot of Test cricket in Australia (and New Zealand, of course) I rarely watch the one-dayers – because when it comes to limited overs cricket, the time zones are not nearly as friendly.
For in ODI cricket, the chase is what you want to watch, while in Test cricket you are just happy to catch a full session or two – no matter the time in the match.
And so, in the interest of planning ahead, here are the start times (subject to change) for the 2015 World Cup, and a little bit about the sacrifices we will all have to make in order to watch as much as of the tournament as possible. (I chose Minneapolis because that’s where I am, apologies to my American friends on the coasts and in the mountains. I also picked London and Mumbai, just for fun.)
Day matches in the Sydney time zone
(that’s the zone that most of the Australian and Kiwi grounds are in, I will get to Perth in second)
First ball at 10:30am local time
Chase begins at 2:00pm local time
In Minneapolis, the first innings will be in prime time, but that chase might go late into the night. Week nights will be tough. Do you stay up and drink coffee to see if England can chase down 300 against Scotland in Match 14? Or do you let logic and reason and good decisions take over? Surely the latter until the knockout stages at least.
In Mumbai the match is at a pleasant time of day and early risers will even get to see every ball, but games will take place in the middle of the work day. That said, the last few overs will be over the lunch hour, which is convenient.
England? Yeah. Start resetting your circadian rhythms now, otherwise you aren’t going to be watching many day/day ODIs in 2015.
Day/Night matches in the Sydney Time Zone
First ball at 2:00pm local time
Chase starts at 5:30pm local time
Sorry, Minneapolis, but those day/night matches are going to be nearly impossible. No bars open for the chase, and you will need either a very understanding boss, a case of Five Hour Energy, or superhuman stamina. Or you are going to have to quit your job. I guess it all depends on how much you love the cricket.
Meanwhile, in London, bars might be open for the chase if the pubs get special dispensation for England matches like they did for the recent World Cup, and even if they’re not, all it will take is a couple of hours of sick time to see the full chase.
Mumbai? Yeah, you won’t be sleep deprived, but you won’t be getting a lot of work done either.
Of course, everything changes when matches head three hours west to Perth.
Day matches in the Perth time zone
First ball at 10:30am local time
Chase starts at 2:00pm local time
Basically, more or less the same time as a day/night match on the east coast of Australia. See above.
Day/night matches in the Perth time zone
First ball at 2:oopm local time
Chase begins at 5:30pm local time
It gets interesting here. Minneapolis? Yeah, just set that alarm early and watch the last 10 overs with coffee and breakfast. London? Watch those overs on your lunch break. While in Mumbai, it’s happy hour.
Cricket is a different game. It’s one thing to wake up for two hours to watch a football match in the middle night, like Americans all did when the World Cup was in Asia. But it’s something else entirely when the matches run for hours. Sure, you can wake up for the chase, but you miss the flow of the game, the vibe, the plot-lines. It’s like coming in during the middle of a movie. A seven hour movie.
And so watching a lot of the cricket world cup, not just the chases – like most dedicated cricket followers will want to do – will require some sacrifices. But it’s only once every four years, and so those sacrifices will surely be worth it.
For the knockout stages anyway.