Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif has raised concerns over Indian Premier League (IPL) matches breaching the stipulated time of four hours and going well past the midnight. Addressing the media, a day before DC vs SRH encounter at Kotla, Kaif also made an interesting observation of how 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.
Calling for umpires to have a look at this dubious practice, Kaif said, “Against DC vs KKR game, Russell went out and Rinku Singh was brought on. Piyush Chawla bowled out his quota of four overs and left the field. This is a well-thought process that the fit and agile players remain on the ground while slower ones are sitting out.”
“We saw in the last game against KXIP also, Punjab doing the same thing- Sarfraz Khan did not come out to field the entire game. We thought the ball hit his gloves and then it was told its an injury. I do not know where he was injured, the umpires would know that. But this is a new method being used by teams. Teams are being smart and making this sort of changes which is not right, according to me,” he remarked.
“We will talk to the umpires about it before the match against SRH,” Kaif added.
Twenty20 was developed with an intent to deliver fast-paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who did not have the patience of the longer versions.
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.
In IPL, the stipulated closing time for games (inclusive of four time-outs) is 11.20 PM. However, hardly any team is adhering to it. Barring a few games, none of the matches have finished on time, some even going well past midnight.
Kaif wants the game to keep flowing and said too much time is wasted on strategising. “Too much planning leads to delays,” he said.
“There are long meetings before the game and then time is wasted on strategizing 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 the player,” he explained.
In IPL 2019, RR captain Ajinkya Rahane and MI Skipper Rohit Sharma have already been fined Rs 12 lakh for maintaining slow over-rates. Last year, RCB skipper Virat Kohli was also fined 12 lakh for slow over rate. Incidentally, in the first-half of IPL 2018, only one match (KKRvDD) ended on time. This year the story is once again unfolding in a similar direction.
Meanwhile, the head coach for Sunrisers Hyderabad Tom Moody said that his team has not faced such a problem. “It’s not something we have come across and it is certainly not a tactic we are looking at. We have had our playing XI on the field.” Moody said.
“That’s definitely an area you want to manage carefully because you want to keep the game moving. We haven’t had any over-rate issues, ” he concluded.