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    October 21, 2008

    Will Australia be hauled up for a poor over rate?

    Slow over rates are one of my favourite gripes about cricket. It isn't about a specific team. India, especially when Ganguly was captain, have been guilty on several occasions, and have rightly copped the penalties. It's about giving value to the paying public (including those in the comforts of their living rooms). The ICC has a responsibility to ensure that the game is played for the maximum time possible (without being dogmatic about start and end times, especially when there is enough light), and when weather conditions aren't ideal, then alternate arrangements (floodlights, for e.g.) need to be made. Teams have a responsibility to ensure that they bowl as many overs as are mandated.

    One of the indicators that Australia were in trouble with the over rate yesterday was when Hussey bowled 8 overs, having bowled only 11 overs in his previous 27 tests. Someone please tell me how Ponting was planning to speed up the over rate with Hussey, when Clarke bowled just one over. In fact, a few tests ago at Perth, Ponting was forced to bowl Clarke and Symonds in tandem to do something about the over rate during India's second innings. As a result, India went from 182/6 after 45 overs (a lead of 300) when Symonds & Clarke started bowling in tandem to 234/6 after 61 overs (a lead of 350+). It was to prove crucial in the context of the match. Despite the attempts to speed things up, there was a monetary penalty imposed.

    Overall, during the Mohali test, this is how the over rate table looked. The ICC's code of conduct specifies that the minimum over rate for tests should be 15 overs per hour, and allowances can be made for wickets falling, drinks breaks, medical treatment, TV referrals, etc. I don't have details about time spent on medical issues or third umpire referrals. I suspect there weren't too many, at least not significant enough to impact the over rate substantially. The weather wasn't oppressively hot and humid requiring frequent drinks, including in-between overs.
    Team bowlingInning #OversTime taken (min)# of wickets taken# of drink breaksNet time taken (min)Over rate bowled# of overs short
    Australia1129594105556141
    India2101.445410442014.40.2
    Australia3652913327514.20.4
    India464.428710325715.1-0.1
    Summary
    Australia1.4
    India0.1
    So, Australia were at least 1.4 overs short at the end of the game. Clause 5 (c) (i) of the ICC's code of conduct for players & officials says
    for each of the first 5 overs short of the minimum overs required 5% of each Player's match fee in the fielding side, in the case of the Captain the amount shall be 10% of the match fee
    Hence, Ricky Ponting must forego 10% of his fee while the rest of the players (does it only refer to the playing XI?) should each fork out 5% of their match fee.

    Actually, failure to ensure the minimum over rate is maintained is a level 2 (2.11) offense. A repeat of a level 2 offense within 12 months automatically upgrades the new offense into a level 3 offense, which carries bans (2-4 tests or 4-8 ODIs). Since Australia have already been hauled up earlier this year, Ricky Ponting should be banned for 2-4 tests or 4-8 ODIs.

    But will it actually happen? Chances are it won't. At Perth and during the one-day triangular series that followed, Australia benefitted when the number of overs short was incorrectly determined. Even worse, a repeat offense wasn't even factored in.

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    By Blogger Sports Fever (22-Oct-2008, 3:09:00 pm)  

    1.4 overs! 10 balls! How much time was lost for the 11000 fireworks set off during Tendulka's innings?

    India, pushing for the win were only 11 balls better off.

    By Blogger Stu (22-Oct-2008, 3:23:00 pm)  

    Good point, Stu. Forgot about the break for celebrating Tendulkar's record. I guess if you factor that in, Australia were ok. As for India, there was no time pressure, ever. If it was like the 2001 Eden Gardens test where Australia had a whiff of a chance if some of the lower order batsmen had stuck it out for a while more, then the time factor comes in.

    At Mohali, that wasn't the case. Even then, they bowled at a rate (marginally) higher than what was required.

    By Blogger Jagadish (24-Oct-2008, 3:48:00 pm)  

    All good points, but i would like to compare over rates from present to the past, the 30's, 50's and 70's. And i think there should be consideration to the type of attack a team takes into a test. Why should a team or nation be penalised if they have no quality spin bowlers but 5 excellant quicks to choose from? The point of the game is to take 20 wickets and get a result, not to see 1000 runs scored against inferior bowling for no result

    By Anonymous Gonzo (02-Jan-2009, 6:02:00 am)  

    Gonzo, keep in mind:

    1. TV revenues: The more # of overs in a day, the more ad breaks => greater revenue potential for cricket boards to sell test cricket for TV audiences

    2. Spectators & audiences: Assuming boards do care for on-field spectators and those following from their homes/elsewhere (TV, radio, internet, mobile, etc.) its about giving them their money's worth. True, a 100 over day between Zimbabwe & Bangladesh would be intolerably compared to a 60 over day between Pakistan and South Africa.

    But all things being the same, there's a case for having more number of overs in a day!

    By Blogger Jagadish (02-Jan-2009, 8:34:00 pm)  

    Both good reasons and there should be penalties to captains that need to speak to there bowlers every couple of balls as there should penalties to batsman that require to change gear (gloves) every 1/2 hour or so, but not to penalise a team for not having specialist slow bowlers in their best 11. It is unaccecptable to be bowling less than 80 overs in a day but i would prefer to see 80 good overs to 60 good and 30 bad.
    I will have to concede that while ever television revenue controls our great game that commercial interests will take precedance.

    By Anonymous Gonzo (04-Jan-2009, 7:10:00 pm)  


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