Over-rates: A major issue in cricket

Cricket, like any sport, is a brand of entertainment. We, as devoted fans of the sport, pay to witness it in its brilliance. Yet, in modern-day cricket, fans are being beguiled out of their money by the inability to bowl 90 overs in a day.

The England v Sri Lanka series is a perfect example of this. 17 overs were lost in the first test at Lord’s, 7 at Headingley. While the Headingley test showed a vast improvement, it’s impossible to ignore the ridiculousness involved in the inability to bowl the full allocation.

There are many reasons for this. One is the length of time between balls and overs. Fast bowlers with long run-ups take an age to bowl overs, field changes, 12th men coming on the field to deliver a message after every over. The fielding side are hugely responsible for slow over-rates.

However, they aren’t the only cause. Batsmen certainly aren’t innocent – Jonathan Trott, a prime example. Time-wasting by tying shoelaces, constant ‘gardening’ and frequent mid-over chats with their partner. This is far from entertainment.

The third cause is the DRS, and in particular, LBW reviews. While I’m an advocate of DRS, I believe there to be issues in the way that LBW reviews are gone about. Often, third umpires will spent minutes attempting to decide whether a batsman hit the ball, only for Hawkeye to then show the ball missing the stumps. This results in a huge amount of wasted time, something that could easily be avoided.

If Hawkeye was to be checked before Hotspot, the time spent on LBW reviews would be diminished, thus increasing the amount of time in a session for overs to be bowled.

This is a major issue in cricket, and particularly so in the England-Sri Lanka series, mainly due to the fact that England have been playing tedious cricket.

Something needs doing to cut this problem out. County cricketers manage to bowl 96 overs in a day with no issues. Cutting out the unnecessary stoppages is one step. Another is to delay, and where necessary, reduce intervals. This is possibly the only way of speeding up all players. Run penalties wouldn’t work, because both parties are at fault. The current penalty, fines, are pointless in a match situation. The ICC need to step in and do something to preserve the brilliance of the sport.


England v Australia 1st t20 Analysis

To a neutral fan, tonight’s game would have been the best thing since sliced bread. Even as England fans, it wasn’t bad to watch. Although the result went against England, the prospect of 457 runs in 40 overs is mouth-watering.

England’s chase was far from disappointing. To score 209 in an innings is hugely impressive, a feat which should win 99/100 t20s. Unfortunately, the home side fell 39 runs short. That large a deficit is often seen as embarrassing, but when you’re chasing the second highest ever t20i score, don’t anticipate a win.

Aaron Finch’s sublime knock of 156 in 63 balls is one of the best innings’ ever witnessed. 14 sixes was a perfect reflection of his true potential. A First-class average of under 30 seems to suggest his talents lie as a t20 specialist, a point perfectly proven by his match-changing performance tonight.

Positives can still be taken by England. Jade Dernbach, despite being abhorred by the majority of England fans, came out as the best bowler, taking 4-0-34-3. The rest of his team consisted of 16-0-212-3. His slower ball proved a useful tool at the death of the innings, both taking wickets and restricting runs.

Joe Root wouldn’t have been in my side tonight, but he impressed with the bat. 90 off 49 was an admiral effort, yet only cleared the ropes once. Root’s recherch√© innings demonstrated pure class, choosing caress over violent slogs. He proved that however crowd-pleasing sixes are, they are not essential to a sterling innings.

With the second t20 at Durham on Saturday, England will need to reconsider their plans to win and level the series. The addition of Michael Carberry would be the obvious change, possibly replacing out of form Eoin Morgan. Danny Briggs’ upward struggle tonight could result in him also missing out, in favour of James Tredwell. One thing that is for sure, it will be a brilliant game.

The BCCI and DRS

During India v Pakistan today, Ishant Sharma bowled a ball that he, and the rest of his team, suspected had been edged behind by Pakistan’s top-scorer Asad Shafiq. When the umpire rejected the appeal, India captain MS Dhoni decided to review the umpire’s decision. A faint edge was detected, and the decision was overturned – Shafiq given out for 41.

It was at this point I realised how significant this moment was. Since the introduction of DRS in 2009, the BCCI have been firmly against the idea of the system being introduced worldwide. The ICC eventually made it mandatory in all matches, however, the BCCI’s threat to pull out of a 2011 tour to England because of the system forced the ICC to end this plan, and instead leave it up to both sides as to whether it was used. The ICC continued to make changes, attempting to improve the reliability of DRS, yet still unable to impress the BCCI.

This month, we are entertained by the Champions Trophy. An event in which the DRS is used in every match. Rather than throwing a hissy fit and threatening to pull out of the tournament, India got on with it. Now, they have used the system to reverse an incorrect decision by an umpire, and gaining a wicket.

This made me wonder as to where the BCCI will go from here. With the DRS having also helped India in the past, it seems clear to me that their claims that it is unreliable are unsubstantiated. Having gained wickets from the use of DRS, the BCCI should back down. However, knowing the arrogance of the BCCI, they probably won’t.

Cricket is moving forward with the use of technology. Many other sports use this kind of technology to improve the game and decisions within the game, and cricket is attempting to follow suit. The BCCI’s refusal to accept the system is frustrating for all involved with cricket, and is preventing the sport from improving. The BCCI need to realise this fact.

New Zealand v England 1st Test tonight – My thoughts

It’s been almost 3 months since England last played a test match. A series in which the BCCI were controlling, and as per usual, attempted to make things easier for India by getting everyone to follow what they wanted. Their Hitler-like methods could not stop India falling to a 2-1 series defeat. Tragic really. Not.

Since then, wasteful ODI’s have filled up the last three months. That and other test matches that were so one-sided that the pundits on Sky could’ve spent countless hours analysing the mistakes. It’s times like this that I’m glad ITV don’t cover cricket.

So here we are. England have previously played 44 test matches in New Zealand, winning 18, and losing 4. England have played 4 tests this winter, all of them against India, winning the series 2-1. The hosts have also played 4 tests this winter, only winning 1 against Sri Lanka. They lost the other three, against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

As much as I’d like to think that New Zealand are a good side, I don’t see anything but an England win in this game. I think England are too strong for New Zealand. Possible victory inside 4 days.