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World Cricket Committee consider introducing ‘shot clock’

"87% of people wanted to see the game in the Olympics. And that's something this panel has been talking about, ever since I've been on it" - Ponting

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The MCC World Cricket Committee could be in favour of introducing a ‘shot clock’ and during-game run penalties to help quicken up slow over rates in all three formats of the game. The committee noted that over rates in Test cricket were at a 11-year low, while T20 was at its slowest ever, and discussed using a shot clock that would encourage teams to complete an over within the stipulated time.

The committee, from which Mike Gatting, Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting and John Stephenson were in London, met at Lord’s, with ICC’s David Richardson, FICA’s Tom Moffat and ECB’s Sanjay Patel appearing for certain parts of the meeting.

The committee also discussed various other issues, including the future of cricket’s culture in light of the ball-tampering incident that saw Cricket Australia banning Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, cricket at the Olympics, growth of women’s cricket, protection for bowlers and ECB’s proposed 100-ball competition apart from the aforementioned concern about slow pace of play.

PACE OF PLAY

The Committee studied data provided by the ICC and noted that slow over rates in cricket was a real concern. The MCC learned that the over-rates in Tests are the lowest they have been for 11 years, while in T20s, it’s the lowest ever.

“We talked about the idea of a shot clock,” Ricky Ponting said. “That’s basically the dead time in the game. So the end of an over, the fielders and bowlers have to be back in positions and ready to bowl in a certain amount of time. That’s non-negotiable. The same with the new batsman coming to the crease.

“We talked about different penalties and what they might be, we didn’t come to a conclusion on what was right and wrong. I think we are of the belief that a-there-and-then run-penalty in the game would be something worth looking at. You’d imagine that the captains then would take a huge responsibility in making sure that their players are ready to go.”

The press release added that the committee was encouraged by indications that the ICC will be reviewing measures to improve the pace of play.

CRICKET AT THE OLYMPICS

The Committee said it had learnt that 87% of a recent ICC survey supported the idea of cricket at the Olympics. The MCC reinstated its support for cricket to be played at the Olympics. It also said it was pleased and is hopeful of women’s cricket being included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“87% of people wanted to see the game in the Olympics. And that’s something this panel has been talking about, ever since I’ve been on it – last 2/3 years, and thinking about what other markets can open up as result of the game being in Olympics. Obviously there are a number of challenges – amount of teams, amount of athletes, venues are all concerns – but it’s one thing that the fans want to see and it’s upto us and the ICC to do whatever we can together to give cricket its best chance of bursting onto the scene in the Olympics and all of us would love to see that at some stage,” Ponting said.

They also welcomed the idea of the setting up of an ICC Women’s cricket committee and the inclusion of women’s cricket in ICC’s Global Cricket Strategy. It also recognised the need for women’s cricket to grow beyond just international teams in order to prevent the widening of gap between nations.

CRICKET CULTURE

The committee said it believes that a holistic approach is required, starting with international boards taking responsibility for the conduct of their teams in order to ensure cricket is played with the right spirit.

“We talked about a number of things and obviously the ball-tampering thing was right on top of the agenda and how do we best go about stamping it out,” said Ponting. “I think we are all in agreement with what the ICC has done in strengthening the penalty on the ball-tampering offence.”

“At the end of the day, we feel a real holistic approach has to be taken on not only the ball-tampering side of things but on the whole culture of the game, country by country to be honest. I think it’s still within the capability or in the hands of the home board to make sure that their team is playing the game in the right way.”

FOUR DAY TEST, DAY NIGHT CRICKET

The committee said that it has not yet discussed playing four-day Tests, saying it currently believes in five-day Tests, and added that it will discuss if there is a unanimous view about playing four-day cricket.

Speaking about D-N cricket, Ganguly said: “I am a believer in day-night Test cricket and I believe that is the way crowds will return to Test cricket especially in India. But obviously, the Indian board has resisted, the players have resisted for a while and we would have to wait to take a call. It is played in other countries, Australia, England, South Africa. I know the Indian board has its own ideas, and it is not within the rights of the MCC but we can recommend it and wait for everyone to accept it.

“It was decided in the technical committee meeting last year to have a day night Test at Rajkot this season when the West Indies come in but the team management have their own ideas and communicated that they were not ready, maybe it’s the dew conditions in the night, maybe it’s the Kookaburra ball, the SG doesn’t have a pink ball yet which is normally used to play Test cricket in India, so we will have to bring in the Kookaburra ball, so there are a lot of issues that haven’t been resolved.”

USING DUKES BALL

The committee felt that using different balls in different countries can add to the charm of Test cricket and are in favour of continuing with it as it is. However, Ganguly added that most of them were in favour of using just the one white ball in ODI cricket in order to help bowlers make more of an impact in the format.

ZIMBABWE CRICKET

After analysing reports from ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, and Vintcent van der Bijl (consultant to Zimbabwe Cricket), the committee noted that the measures taken by ICC had resulted in a hopeful environment for Zimbabwe Cricket. The committee also observed that the World Cup qualifying tournament held in Zimbabwe turned out to be a successful venture.

PROTECTION FOR BOWLERS

The panel also analysed footage of recent accidents in relation to bowlers who had been hit after completing their delivery stride by straight drives, especially in the shortest format of the game.

In relation to it, ECB and MCC have been looking at “launching a design project for manufacturers to develop head protection for bowlers and the committee is supportive of this move”.

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