MCC recommends shot clock in cricket to improve over rate

The MCC World Cricket Committee ended a two-day meeting at Lord’s on Tuesday. It expressed concerns over poor pace of play after a yearlong review.

cricket Updated: Aug 08, 2018 11:09 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, London
MCC,shot clock,cricket
Soon, cricket could feature a tennis-like shot clock. Image for representative purposes only. (Getty Images)

The custodians of international cricket laws have suggested adopting a ‘shot clock’ like in tennis and impose run penalties on teams to improve over rate, with International Cricket Council statistics showing that Test over rates are the lowest for 11 years and T20s facing an all-time low.

The MCC World Cricket Committee ended a two-day meeting at Lord’s on Tuesday. It expressed concerns over poor pace of play after a yearlong review. With support for Tests dwindling, there is a desperate bid to ramp up interest.

The committee discussed various steps, including adopting a “shot clock”, from the moment a bowler reaches the top of the bowling mark to the point when the over is completed. The onus will be on the fielding team skipper.

“It is probably a little extreme, the idea of a shot clock,” former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said, addressing a news conference at Lord’s on Tuesday with Sourav Ganguly and Mike Gatting, former England skipper and panel chairman.

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“The idea of shot clock is about dead time in the game. It’s not about when the bowlers are actually running in,” he said. “It is non-negotiable, it’s the same for the new batsman coming to the crease.

“The fining of the players hasn’t been administered very often any way, certainly through the last 12 months. We are of the belief that run penalty would be something definitely worth looking at.

“If (captains) are not in a position, and are three or four overs (behind), it is 20 runs, which as we saw in the game last week (India lost to England by 31 runs) was the difference.”

The panel expressed concerns over ball-tampering. Ponting said Cricket Australia banning skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner for one year each and Cameron Bancroft for nine months for their roles in the incident in South Africa in March has forced the world to sit up and take notice.

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“It’s probably got the desired outcome, a kind of shock to world cricket. But at the end of the day we believe a holistic approach has to be taken, not only with ball-tampering side of things but with the culture of the game, country by country… It’s up to the home boards to make sure their team and their captains are playing the game the way it’s supposed to be. There needs to be a level of consistency across each board with how they handle these issues.”

T20 in Olympics, day-night Tests and white ball issues

ICC survey shows 87 percent want cricket in Olympics. It will have to be studied what markets it will open up, but number of teams, athletes, venues etc., will have to be considered, while opposition by BCCI is also an issue. The target is 2028 Games.

Ganguly backed day-night cricket and said BCCI technical committee has recommended the Rajkot Test against West Indies for it, but the India team has reservations. One reason could be due to the absence of an SG Test pink ball.

The only discussion was over whether Dukes white ball should be used in ODIs, especially because the new kookaburra ball does not swing much. Reverse swing has declined due to use of two new balls in the 50-over game.

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 11:09 IST