Monday, 10 November 2008

Slow and steady doesn't win the race

It looks like the Aussies might have let the trophy get away from them in the last session yesterday, and I put the blame firmly at Ponting's feet. Not because he tried to keep the over rate up, though, but for letting it slip to start with. Bowling the appropriate number of overs in a day is a requirement of the playing conditions and code of conduct. Deliberately wasting time can and should be considered cheating. Those who have observed the Australian team's fondness for other "sharp practices" would reach the conclusion that he bowled part-timers not for the sake of the spirit of the game, but so that he would not be banned. But surely such motivation is the point of the penalties in the first place. Would we be happy if players decided to run on the pitch near the end of a game, because the series was in the balance and the next game didn't matter?

So, some questions, firstly for the Australian selectors:
Can we please keep Ponting as a batsman, and choose a captain who doesn't spend an eternity making each (usually bad) bowling or fielding decision? The over rate issue might suddenly disappear!

And for the ICC:
Why aren't other dodgy practices mentioned in the code of conduct punished as rigorously as over rates?

And for the MCC with the ICC:
Is there a way to sensibly implement penalties in a way that affects the match in question, to avoid any conflict between following the rules and winning the game? It hasn't been done with over-rates, and the ball-tampering rule suggests that it can't be done well.


scorpicity said...

Ponting and team did get punished for the over rate... so that is settled.

I felt he tampered too much with the field placements too often that lead to this situation.

Using Hussey was unforgivable... they could easily have got Watson to bowl in a shortened run-up, much similar to that of Hussey, but apparently all the fast bowlers were tired :).

Either way, this will be a short-term crisis for Ponting... things will be ok after they expectantly over-run New Zealand.

Jonathan said...

Hi Scorpicity, thanks for commenting.

It's hardly the first time the Aussies have been penalised for overrates under Ponting. I would be slightly less upset if he took that long to make good placements and bowling changes. As you say, Hussey was a very strange decision.

It is a pity that the Australian selectors have a culture of not sacking a captain unless he is dropped from the team altogether. Australia have looked much more dangerous when Ponting has not been in charge, and that is even more relevant now they are missing some stars.

The Aussies should be good enough to deal with NZ, but the Kiwis always play above themselves against their neighbours, so it should be good to watch!