Wednesday, 19 January 2022

IPL losing fizz as matches drag past midnight

HYDERABAD: One of the irritating features of the 12th edition of the IPL is that the majority of the matches are finishing way beyond the schedule time of 11.20 pm. Some of the matches are going well past midnight. The matches are stretching too far into the night and this has not gone well with the general public, viewers and many of the critics. They feel it is time the umpires come down heavily on the teams for any delay tactics that is being deployed during the matches. Many of the critics blame the captains for not speeding up the proceedings.

According to the playing rules of IPL, the bowling teams are supposed to complete their 20 overs within 75 minutes (i.e. three minutes and 45 seconds per over) to maintain the rhythm and pace of the shortest form of the game. The stipulated closing time for games (inclusive of four time-outs) is 11.20 pm. But unfortunately, many of the teams are not adhering to it.

The captains are taking too long to strategise during the bowling changes as they have long discussions with the bowler before the start of an over. Apart from the time-outs, the DRS that was introduced in IPL since last year, is also eating up much of the time.

The organisers have so far fined Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma and Rajasthan Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane of Rs 12 lakh each for maintaining a slow over-rate under IPL’s Code of Conduct. Sharma was penalised for the first offence against Kings Punjab in the Mohali match while Rahane was found guilty against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai.

But this has not served any purpose. Former New Zealand pace bowler Simon Doull feels that some action should be taken against the erring teams or some changes in the rules need to be implemented. He further pointed out that the spectators or millions of viewers will lose interest in IPL in the long run if it goes beyond midnight.

SRH coach Tom Moody said that the best way to speed up the game would deduct from teams net run rate. That would hurt the teams. He tweeted: Simple solution, forget monetary fines, deduct from teams net run rate. Works in the @CPL, players quickly recognise the value of NRR when it comes to qualifying for playoffs!

Former Test cricketer Mohammad Kaif, now the assistant coach of Delhi Capitals, viewed how some franchisees like KKR and KXIP were replacing slower fielders in the middle of a game with the fitter ones to cover the problem of slow over-rates.

Kaif agreed that the game has to keep flowing and too much time is being wasted for strategising. “There are long meetings before the game and then time is wasted on strategising field positions. This, in turn, confuses players and bowlers. It is better to leave them with a clear mind. Suddenly, you can’t have ten people advising a player,” he said.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan too lamented that the games are taking over four hours. He said it is too long and was not happy when the super over in the Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders match took 30 minutes.

It is time the IPL organisers take serious view of the delaying tactics of the captain and rein in the teams for completing the matches on scheduled time.

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