A Shadow Over the Game of Cricket?

As the title of my article implies, the T20 laws of cricket as applying to T20 internationals have been tailored to suit this particular format of the game. Accordingly we have rules for situations that could arise in a T20 match, as opposed to an ODI or test match.

Some of these rules could also apply to another thoptv ipl version of the game. For instance, we have rules relating to fielding restrictions ( no more than 5 fielders on the leg side); this rule is applicable to ODIs,too.

Besides, a free hit is awarded after every front-foot no ball bowled by a bowler, and the ‘bowl out’ rule is intended to produce a result, in the event of a tie.

We have known umpires to have applied these T20 laws, meticulously and consistently, in the matches we have seen, thus far.

However, there is one area, where the application of T20 laws has neither been meticulous, nor strict enough. Can you guess what area I am referring to?

I am talking about slow over rates. Many captains have been guilty of not getting their bowlers’ overs delivered, within the allotted time. And what is the time allotted for this purpose, according to the laws of T20 cricket? The bowling team is given no more than 75 minutes to complete its quota of 20 overs. Allowing for a 30-minute break between innings, the whole match should get over in 3 hours.

During IPL 2010, we saw the imposition of monetary fines, and bans, on several captains. Can we therefore assume that the umpires applied the laws strictly? The answer is, no. The T20 laws also provide for the deduction of runs from the score of an offending captain, in relation to time wasting. For instance, The batting team can be penalized 5 runs, if found guilty of time wasting.

Similarly, the umpire, in his discretion, can penalize the bowling side six runs for every whole over bowled after the 75th minute. Consider the effect, on the result of the match, had this rule been applied strictly, in a closely fought match, such as the IPL match between Rajasthan and Mumbai, which the latter team won by 4 runs.

In their defence, perhaps the umpires were wary of the controversies likely to arise if they applied the law too strictly. Also, was there any captain that wasn’t guilty of resorting to time wasting tactics?