England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's

'Many factors' in over-rate rule saved Dhoni from possible ban

Sharda Ugra and Nagraj Gollapudi

July 27, 2011

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir have a chat, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day, July 24, 2011
Gautam Gambhir would have led India at Trent Bridge if MS Dhoni had been found wanting by the Lord's official scorer © AFP
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni
Series/Tournaments: India tour of England
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India head into the second Test in Nottingham with much hanging over them: they trail England 0-1, their main strike bowler is battling to return from injury and their batting is looking to get into the groove. The one blessing is that captain MS Dhoni has defied widespread apprehension and cold calculation to escape the trip-wires of the over-rate in Tests through the somewhat open-ended ICC rules that depend on "many factors on the ground" and the interpretation of those factors.

A transgression at Lord's would have been Dhoni's third in a calendar year and would have led to an automatic suspension from the next Test.

At the end of England's innings at Lord's, India were found to be two overs short; that was the calculation of three independent sets of scorers, two of whom were present at the ground. A similar calculation by the official Lord's scorer would have meant Gautam Gambhir captaining the side at Trent Bridge. After the match, Dhoni said that he had been informed by the match referee that India had done well on the over-rate and he was in the clear.

ESPNcricinfo contacted the ICC and asked whether it was possible that the official scorers had taken a particular situation or event into account before arriving at their calculation that had India well within the rate required and if there were unconventional factors other than innings breaks, fall of wickets or inadvertent delays that had been worked into the calculation.

An official spokesperson said that the calculation for over-rates depended on "many factors on the ground on the day and the interpretations of those factors. These are always left in the hands of the match officials as they have a better grasp of the mitigating issues. The calculation is made over the course of both innings and the regulations provide that in calculating the over-rate, allowances must be given for, inter alia, all time lost due to circumstances beyond the control of the fielding team."

When asked whether India had been reminded of their over-rate at any point during the Lord's game, the ICC spokesperson said, "What we can say is that players are regularly reminded of the laws and regulations regarding time wasting and over-rates and they are always requested to be more proactive in improving the pace of play."

An official present at Lord's said that umpires could give due licence to captains depending on local circumstances. At Lord's, for example, new batsmen sometimes take more than two minutes to settle down. "You have to come down a flight of stairs and then walk through the Long Room and past the members into the stands. At times the batsmen take more time to settle down and can delay the play by doing various sorts of things."

The official stated that both teams were on par in terms of over-rates, though India may have been a minute faster, and that the official times varied across all the three Lord's "time-keepers" - the field umpires, the match referee and the official scorers.

The best way to complete the required number of overs, the official said, would require the change between overs to be around 10 seconds, which can save up to 16 minutes in a day. Protracted celebrations of wickets followed by a fielding change after the new batsman had got ready to play also led to more time being wasted.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo; Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by SpartaArmy on (July 29, 2011, 20:08 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas: If yu are a hard core fan of Dravid it dosnt mean that yu have to go hard on others. They all play for the TEAM and all of them are great. USELESS captain?? I hope ALL IS WELL with you. He won us WCs twice as captain, better you check the reality before making comments on people who achieved more than what MOST OF 'U's can ever dream of.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

Doesnt this favor slower bowlers with shorter runups than the faster ones with long ones. As usual, yet another crazy idea that is now law in cricket. What should be done instead is that the ICC should empower the umps to penalizes the team that bowls slow deliberately, fast or slow. That will take care of the problem.

Posted by bobagorof on (July 29, 2011, 2:48 GMT)

With all the talk about Test cricket being 'boring', I would have thought the ICC would be interested in ensuring a high over rate was maintained (90 overs in the day is supposed to be standard and achievable) so that the fans get as much action as possible. Batsmen certainly don't take 2 minutes to 'settle down' in Twenty20, so why should they be allowed to hold things up in Test matches?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 29, 2011, 2:22 GMT)

@ravichakra, can't agree more bro. Absolutely. Dhoni and the batsmen (barring Dravid, VVS and Raina) cost us the match. Mukund was also ok. BTW, I saw your thanks in the other article. Yes, I'll do my part in letting the world know what a rare genius Dravid is. It is always an insult to compare a teamman like Dravid with a selfish to the core paper 'god'.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 28, 2011, 23:04 GMT)

It's a curse in disguise for India that Dhoni isn't banned. Now India is all set to go in with a useless captain, keeper and batsman. What a tragedy! Indians have to play out of their skins to offset the disadvantage of having Dhoni in the team.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (July 28, 2011, 21:44 GMT)

DHONI IS ONE OF THE BEST CAPTAIN IN PRESENT DAY CRICKET, I THINK HE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE FULL PART IN CHOSING A TEAM FOR TRENTBRIDGE BECAUSE OF THE INJURY SITUATION OF HIS TEAM. I THINK INDIA SHOULD TAKE A BOLD STEP AND PLAY YUV RAJ AND MISHRA ALONG WITH HARBHAJAN THIS WILL HEP TO GET THROUGH THRIE OVERS QUICKER. BE SIDES, SHANE WARNE AND MURALITHARAN HAVE A GREAT RECORD AT TRENT BRIDGE. MORE OVER PIERTERSEN , TROT AND PRIOR ARE SUSCEPTEBLE TO GOOD LEG SPIN SUCH AS MISHRA ( WARNE). FIVE BOWLERS ISHANT, PARVEEN, HARBHAJAN, MISHRA AND SREESANT PLUS YUV RAJ. TAKE OUT MUKUND FROM THE SIDE HE HAS A LOT TO LEARN. GAMBHIR AND DRAVID TO OPEN. IN THE WORST CASE OPEN WITH ISHANT SHARMA TO TAKE OF THE SHEEN. I KNOW HE CAN DO IT. TEAM: DRAVID,GAMBHIR.TENDULKAR, LAXHMAN. DHONI, RAINA, YUVRAJ, SHARMA, HARBHAJAN, MISHRA,SREESHANT, PARVEEN. SHARMA PLAYED THE PACE IN SOTH AFRICA AND AUSTRALIA WELL. FIVE BOWLERS IS THE GAME. S.N.SINGH

Posted by Iyer on (July 28, 2011, 18:08 GMT)

I wish he was banned. That way India could have placed the best 11 available out of the 14.

Posted by sabs2012 on (July 28, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

One of the factor I can remember of was that when India was bowling the batsman stopped the bowler because of some flies in front of his face.

Posted by   on (July 28, 2011, 13:42 GMT)

Finally RS Madugalle decides not to fine/ban. I am shocked. May be he is just waiting for the most crucial point of the series!

Posted by DaveS99 on (July 28, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

I think some people are missing the point. The purpose of encouraging the captain to meet the minimum overs requirement is to get the paying public as much cricket as possible. As the aim is to get the public good quality and quantities of cricket and depriving them of Dhoni playing would not achieve this goal and would be a bad move. I suspect that the powers that be looked for a way of making sure that he wasn't banned. The figures can no doubt be interpreted to show that he did not meet the requirements but I hope that sense has prevailed.

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