How do we fix slow over rates in Test cricket?

Cricket, featured, Test cricket

Test cricket has a problem with slow over rates. In the old days, we used to get 100-110 overs per day, whereas now it is rare for a day’s Test match to finish on time with 90 overs bowled.

Whatever system the ICC has to address this problem is not working.

England were the guilty party in the first Test but Australia are no better – as is evidenced by their penalties last year.

The players all make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and match fees only provide a small portion of this. So fining a player or a team part or all of their match fee is a nuisance but no big deal.

If we want to fix it, then we need to be prepared for some pain.

The umpires – on the ground and the third umpire – have a crucial role to play in solving this problem but they need to be given a framework on which to base decisions.

All Test cricketers are competitive people of varying degrees but none of them like losing or even giving up easy runs.

My solution is as follows.

Assuming there are no interruptions, teams are required to bowl a minimum of 15 overs per hour. At the scheduled end of the first session, if a team has not bowled 30 overs, they are issued an official warning.

If at the scheduled end of the second session they have not bowled 60 overs, then one player is removed from the field for the third session. There are no replacement fielders allowed, so they need to field with ten players.

Also, no rotations during that session (except for genuine injury).

If at the scheduled end of the third session, the bowling team has not completed at least 90 overs, then the player remains off the field and another player joins him on the bench.

A slow over-rate may cost one or two teams a game but the problem would be resolved quickly.

Obviously, the umpires need to be on the ball and allow for time delays caused by injuries, but if a bowler wants to change his boots, he can do that at fine leg.

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