Delhi Daredevils v Kings XI Punjab, IPL, Cape Town April 19, 2009

Wasted time

Victor Brown
The time-out as it has been presented is nonsensical enough. But when rain is in the air, as it was at Newlands on Sunday, it becomes a self-defeating fiasco and a triumph for sheer greed over the paying public
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So, which is it to be? Cricket or commercials? Because the IPL cannot have it both ways. When the sun is out, the time-out as it has been presented for public consumption - as a chance for the teams to talk tactics - is nonsensical enough. But when rain is in the air, as it was throughout Delhi Daredevils' clash with Kings XI Punjab at Newlands, it becomes a self-defeating fiasco and a triumph for sheer greed over the paying public.

That's because the time-out isn't about tactics at all. It's about money. Lots and lots of it. For those watching on TV, the seven-and-a-half minute hiatus is split equally into three parts: a token nod to tactics, in which viewers get to watch the two teams thrillingly form a huddle or practise their catching; a commercial break; and a chunk paid for by the highest bidder at, reportedly, $1m a pop. Commercialism, then, outweighs cricket by two to one, a ratio that may well capture the IPL's very soul.

Back to today, then, and the self-defeating fiasco. Play began an hour and 40 minutes late because of showery clouds floating in over Table Mountain, at which point the game had already been reduced to 12 overs a side. With rain seemingly ready to fall at any minute, every over was at a premium. Yet, astonishingly, the time-out wouldn't budge. So off trooped the players after six - six! - overs, wasting the equivalent of nearly two overs in the process. When the murkiest of showers interrupted play after only 11 balls of Delhi's reply, the rigidity of the time-out system was exposed.

Cricket has often had a stubborn relationship with its scheduled breaks. No feast, it seems, is more immovable than lunch, although on one of the few occasions on which it was shifted by half an hour in a county championship, Nottinghamshire's George Gunn allowed a ball to hit his stumps, and marched off declaring: "I take my lunch at 1.30."

But while George's thoughts were with the hole in his stomach, the IPL is concerned with the depths of its pockets. Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, opposing captains in the tournament opener yesterday, both provided non-committal verdicts on the time-out, but then neither side was affected by it one way or the other.

Kings XI Punjab may not be so sanguine. After a rollicking start from Karan Goel and Ravi Bopara, Goel fell the ball before the scheduled six-over break. This, naturally, was not the system's fault, but Bopara may have felt differently when, to Daniel Vettori's first delivery after the time-out, he was absent-mindedly caught plumb in front. Vettori proceded to concede just one run off the over and Punjab's sprint was chopped off at the knees.

"We had the momentum and we had 7½ minutes to lose it," said Tom Moody, the Punjab coach. "It was the perfect time for Daniel Vettori to come on and secure the momentum back in favour of Delhi. But there are going to be days in this tournament when it works in our favour too."

Quite what Moody and his captain, Yuvraj Singh, were supposed to have said to their batsmen is unclear. "Keep hitting the ball - very high and very far," probably summed it up. Just as ridiculous was the hold-up as the umpires waited for the 7½ minutes to tick over. The players were ready, and the crowd broke into a slow handclap, but TV was dictating terms.

In the end, the game was a non-event. Driven off the field after 1.5 overs, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag returned to find they needed only 30 more off 25 deliveries to get Delhi off to a winning start. They made it with seven balls to spare. The time-out can't do anything about the weather. But it shouldn't make an already damp squib even damper.

Victor Brown is a freelance cricket writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dhairyaguptha on April 20, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    No thrill of watching matches this time. No one interested. No cricket there.Only Money! What happened to cricket? ICC bribed.

  • utes on April 20, 2009, 4:03 GMT

    I agree this is a stupid strategy. But then how in the world IPL can afford to pay a million bucks to players. I am sure the players will not and should not complain about this break. After all, it is in their interest. It is the audience who are at loss. Or maybe not. They can probably use this time to switch channels and see what is happening in their favorite soap opera or use this break to grab a bite or something.

    Bottom line is, it is business. And if cricket or any sport has to expand, this is probably a good thing. Eventually, people will get used to it. In my opinion, this might even be emulated at other place.

  • David_Doss on April 20, 2009, 3:49 GMT

    IPL organizers are money greedy. It makes no sense to lose 15 valuable minutes in which 4 precious overs could have been bowled. Its nonsense.

  • VickGower on April 20, 2009, 3:46 GMT

    Lot of silly comments here. Let's step back and get a little rational. IPL is transformational precisely because it is able to monetize cricket. And monetize it also for the benefit of cricketers. While football/tennis/basketball/baseball players routinely make millions (in US at least), cricket has been a game of paupers. Because of IPL kids can now aspire to play cricket and get rich as well which is a great thing. An average Indian cricketer who was previously consigned to spending his life in the backwaters of Ranji Trophy and then look for another career suddenly has more opportunity. An unknown, 20 yr old kid who knows nothing else but to play cricket can now earn $25,000 because of IPL. IPL is able to pay him partially because of the ads you see. If it will take another 30 mins of ad to pay another 10 Kamran Khans $25,000 each, I will gladly bear it. And I hope the owners make a lot of money in the process - they deserve it. I don't believe in pseudo-socialistic anti-greed crap.

  • ngdaddikar on April 20, 2009, 3:07 GMT

    I think it is only the hype that is sustaining IPL. Look at the body language of the players themselves. They look jaded and bored. Playing because they have to play. Only the 'non-regulars' look all enthused and raring to go. The regulars look like they are better off at home. These 7.5 minute breaks are probably to remind to viewers to think if they have something better to do. I am giving the IPL a fair shot but have been disappointed so far.

  • Manoj1234 on April 20, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    Time-out after 10 overs (10 overs !!???) is ridiculous. This is not basket ball, football or hockey. It is a relatively pretty gentle game in terms of physical fitness, endurance and athletic ability, even in 20-20 format. This IPL tournament is actually putting me off. Coz it seems to be more about the owners whims and fancies and egos. Some of them like KKR owner have actually made statements like 'I put in the money so i'll do what i like'. Its not much different than the Stanford guy.

  • jobensingh on April 20, 2009, 2:19 GMT

    THE BEST OPTION: just record the match and then u can forward all the ads and bullshit. I know it isn't live, but at least u will waste less of your life watching commercials.... Not to mention the flexibility of watching it whenever U LIKE. But I agree...this tactical time out bullshit should be removed - it is the main thing ruining the matches!

  • drdreddy2008 on April 20, 2009, 1:07 GMT

    It is ludicrous that IPL is becoming an American capitalist based enterprise. This is outrageous.. soon it will be synonymous with Super Bowl with timeouts every ball, and those catchy 30 second ads. Does cricket really need this? Why must India emulate everything that USA does? Is there no originality in the organizer's minds?

  • Subra on April 19, 2009, 23:10 GMT

    Time-out is to make cricket resemble Bollywood. Remember the dance-sequences just as the plot gets exciting! That's what time-out reminds me. It looks like there will be a time-out even if there is no cricket. The sensible thing to do would be to reduce time-outs just like the overs and the fielding restrictions are reduced - but no one is going to do that because all that the franchises care is MONET and MORE MONEY. The cricket is just the means to earn MONEY! It is a pity - but that is the stark reality of the situation. Having paid vast amounts to 'buy' the players and spent money to oil the publicity machine - they have to get it back - hence time-out is vital. The captains, players and the paying pubglic who would rather watch the cricket than the cheer leaders, have a part to play, by telling their owners how they feel about it. I hope xommonsense prevails and that the time-outs are reduced proportionately. Siva fron Singapore

  • wastedocket on April 19, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    All I can see is people bitch and moan... I mean cricket and any sports for that matter thrives on commercials/sponsors. The sports gear they use, the fees everything is paid by sponsors and they have the right to use the alloted time..People who comment on how the game is being killed by IPL are either ediots or lack basic common sense.. Overall, IPL is a success.. and I still enjoy watching it..

  • dhairyaguptha on April 20, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    No thrill of watching matches this time. No one interested. No cricket there.Only Money! What happened to cricket? ICC bribed.

  • utes on April 20, 2009, 4:03 GMT

    I agree this is a stupid strategy. But then how in the world IPL can afford to pay a million bucks to players. I am sure the players will not and should not complain about this break. After all, it is in their interest. It is the audience who are at loss. Or maybe not. They can probably use this time to switch channels and see what is happening in their favorite soap opera or use this break to grab a bite or something.

    Bottom line is, it is business. And if cricket or any sport has to expand, this is probably a good thing. Eventually, people will get used to it. In my opinion, this might even be emulated at other place.

  • David_Doss on April 20, 2009, 3:49 GMT

    IPL organizers are money greedy. It makes no sense to lose 15 valuable minutes in which 4 precious overs could have been bowled. Its nonsense.

  • VickGower on April 20, 2009, 3:46 GMT

    Lot of silly comments here. Let's step back and get a little rational. IPL is transformational precisely because it is able to monetize cricket. And monetize it also for the benefit of cricketers. While football/tennis/basketball/baseball players routinely make millions (in US at least), cricket has been a game of paupers. Because of IPL kids can now aspire to play cricket and get rich as well which is a great thing. An average Indian cricketer who was previously consigned to spending his life in the backwaters of Ranji Trophy and then look for another career suddenly has more opportunity. An unknown, 20 yr old kid who knows nothing else but to play cricket can now earn $25,000 because of IPL. IPL is able to pay him partially because of the ads you see. If it will take another 30 mins of ad to pay another 10 Kamran Khans $25,000 each, I will gladly bear it. And I hope the owners make a lot of money in the process - they deserve it. I don't believe in pseudo-socialistic anti-greed crap.

  • ngdaddikar on April 20, 2009, 3:07 GMT

    I think it is only the hype that is sustaining IPL. Look at the body language of the players themselves. They look jaded and bored. Playing because they have to play. Only the 'non-regulars' look all enthused and raring to go. The regulars look like they are better off at home. These 7.5 minute breaks are probably to remind to viewers to think if they have something better to do. I am giving the IPL a fair shot but have been disappointed so far.

  • Manoj1234 on April 20, 2009, 2:37 GMT

    Time-out after 10 overs (10 overs !!???) is ridiculous. This is not basket ball, football or hockey. It is a relatively pretty gentle game in terms of physical fitness, endurance and athletic ability, even in 20-20 format. This IPL tournament is actually putting me off. Coz it seems to be more about the owners whims and fancies and egos. Some of them like KKR owner have actually made statements like 'I put in the money so i'll do what i like'. Its not much different than the Stanford guy.

  • jobensingh on April 20, 2009, 2:19 GMT

    THE BEST OPTION: just record the match and then u can forward all the ads and bullshit. I know it isn't live, but at least u will waste less of your life watching commercials.... Not to mention the flexibility of watching it whenever U LIKE. But I agree...this tactical time out bullshit should be removed - it is the main thing ruining the matches!

  • drdreddy2008 on April 20, 2009, 1:07 GMT

    It is ludicrous that IPL is becoming an American capitalist based enterprise. This is outrageous.. soon it will be synonymous with Super Bowl with timeouts every ball, and those catchy 30 second ads. Does cricket really need this? Why must India emulate everything that USA does? Is there no originality in the organizer's minds?

  • Subra on April 19, 2009, 23:10 GMT

    Time-out is to make cricket resemble Bollywood. Remember the dance-sequences just as the plot gets exciting! That's what time-out reminds me. It looks like there will be a time-out even if there is no cricket. The sensible thing to do would be to reduce time-outs just like the overs and the fielding restrictions are reduced - but no one is going to do that because all that the franchises care is MONET and MORE MONEY. The cricket is just the means to earn MONEY! It is a pity - but that is the stark reality of the situation. Having paid vast amounts to 'buy' the players and spent money to oil the publicity machine - they have to get it back - hence time-out is vital. The captains, players and the paying pubglic who would rather watch the cricket than the cheer leaders, have a part to play, by telling their owners how they feel about it. I hope xommonsense prevails and that the time-outs are reduced proportionately. Siva fron Singapore

  • wastedocket on April 19, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    All I can see is people bitch and moan... I mean cricket and any sports for that matter thrives on commercials/sponsors. The sports gear they use, the fees everything is paid by sponsors and they have the right to use the alloted time..People who comment on how the game is being killed by IPL are either ediots or lack basic common sense.. Overall, IPL is a success.. and I still enjoy watching it..

  • itsjustcricket on April 19, 2009, 22:47 GMT

    Hey IPL, I have an idea for you. Have each "star" (Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dhoni, Peiterson, etc) get to bat twice...once in the first 10 overs, then again in the next ten. That should bring in some more revenue. Or cover their clothes and bats with logos like a nascar driver, even better

  • srinathkrishna on April 19, 2009, 22:45 GMT

    Excellent article! A look at the jerseys of the players tell you the situation perfectly. The franchises have squeezed in every possible sponsor into the jersey and cricketers look like models or more appropriately, clowns. Cricket is now looked upon as a commercial venture and it is evident that the IPL is trying to mince as much money as possible, now that they have to cover up costs as the tournament is being held in South Africa and not in India. And what's more disgusting is that after a six, a short commercial is squeezed into while the ball's being retrieved. All these "money-hungry" reservations by the IPL make me think that it was the IPL authorities who let off the Fox Hound dog in the opener between CSK and MI, so that they could squeeze in even more advertisements in the interim. Let cricket thrive on its rich heritage and not money. Finally, I would like to say that if this continues to go on, The IPL will be doing more harm than good for the Spirit of Cricket.

  • venucricket on April 19, 2009, 22:34 GMT

    In my view ads during the time out break is not that much annoying compared to the ads between every over. Even first ball in the over after ad break misses very often.

  • HowZatbro on April 19, 2009, 22:01 GMT

    I am also surprised that no one is addressing the issue of commentary in the IPL. It is shamelessly self promoting and disgustingly commercial. How long before KP plays a Hero Honda front foot drive through the CitiBank covers?

  • Hiteshdevilliers on April 19, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    Well, I haven't really been keeping in touch with the IPL this season. But this so called "time-out" rule doesn't come as any surprise to many people. The cash rich BCCI is just trying to find new ways to make money. Infact, this whole IPL was put together because of greed. The BCCI has turned cricket into a giant corporation. The effect is showing on teams, who are spending more time on commercials; and on the games itself, like today's rain affected game. I salute players like Michael Clare and Mitchell Johnson, who are able to look beyond the money and place their priority on national selection. That's why players like them are the of the highest caliber in international cricket. Cricket has changed for the worse, and many people would prefer the sport of cricket return to it's pre-IPL days. This is what greed can do to people.

  • rsrikanth86 on April 19, 2009, 21:03 GMT

    While people are right in saying that there shouldn't have been a break in this match,I beleive people are gong a bit too far in trying to villainise IPL. For a rain affected 20-20 match the minimum number of overs is 5. So saying that 6 over cricket is not cricket is not the fault of IPL. IPL is organizing a huge tournament and it deserves praise for the way it has shifted to SA at such short notice and I am sure its going to be a success. Moving to SA gave it losses to offset which they have more ads. They are not running a philanthropy center to hand out money everywhere. Give credit where it is due. The need to blow their own trumpets is because of the biased reporting by people against innovative ideas. A look at British newspapers would make you think of Modi as Satan and ECB as the saviors of the game. Come on guys no more sour grapes. They are doing a good job and deserve praise.

  • malharsire on April 19, 2009, 20:38 GMT

    A better way to do breaks would be to do a 2 minute break at the end of every 5 overs. This will give 6 minute total commercial and the breaks would not be too long. Plus they could add 1.5 minute more to the break between innings. TV viewers will soon start channel surfing or making snacks or doing pooja during the 7 minute breaks, making commercials worthless. At 2 minutes they're likely to watch the commercials.

  • Rahulbose on April 19, 2009, 20:07 GMT

    What else would you expect to see in the IPL. Frankly people following this form of cricket deserve what they get. I am more surprised that this is the only part of the fiasco you found to be unacceptable.

  • HowZatbro on April 19, 2009, 19:39 GMT

    As a great cricket enthusuast I seriously believe that the IPL / Twenty20 is turning cricket into for lack of better words into "Guli Danda". I give IPL 5 years.

  • HowZatbro on April 19, 2009, 19:25 GMT

    6 over matches are not cricket, its sheer and utter nonsense. This charade of 10 minute commercial breaks and narcissistic TV commentary will ensure a short shelf life for the IPL.

  • Daigomi on April 19, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    While last night's game wasn't watched by 80,000 people, it was as close to a full house as I've seen in Cape Town, and in no way was the crowd uncertain of who to support. They supported the players and they supported the great cricket. So far we have had four games, some which have been tight, others which have not, but all of which have been enjoyable, and for the most part have gone off without a fault on the organizers part. But I am yet to read that in the reports here.

  • Daigomi on April 19, 2009, 19:03 GMT

    While I agree that the time-outs did break up play slightly during the day, it was still Bopara's own fault he lost his wicket after the time-out. Drinks breaks during tests and one-days are just as long, and you don't hear complaints every time a player loses his wicket right after drinks. These are professional players, and they should be able to keep their concentration for seven minutes. Furthermore, as a spectator the seven minutes really don't feel that long. You watch the interview they have with the children getting their money, or the girl winning her trip to Bollywood, you go to the bathroom, and when you come back it's done. I found it much less annoying than I expected to.

    Also, I'd just really like to complain about the quality of coverage on cricinfo regarding the IPL. I feel that some writers have an axe to grind against the IPL, rather than making objective reports. The report made yesterday regarding the first games was as far away from the truth as could be

  • bipulkumar on April 19, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    Next IPL will have a 10 mins tactical break after every over. Team needs time to think. Earlier IPL viewing used to be like watching a thriller movie with an intermission, now it is like saas-bahu tv serial where there is break before you feel engaged.

  • hytman on April 19, 2009, 18:33 GMT

    i agree this can affect the momentum of this seasons ipl greatly. thus viewers will lose interest-how will they benifit after this?

  • chaitanyaramachandran on April 19, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    Absolutely right. What made this even more inexplicable was that during the 2+ hours of rain-induced delay, audiences in India were subjected to a never-ending torrent of advertising. What then was the need to force the tactical time-out as well? The delay allowed virtually three matches worth of advertising. Also, given that the IPL schedule does not allow for replays, I think in rain-affected situations such as today's, the IPL management should be ready to do away with the silly tactical time-out The potential cost of not doing so is abandoning the match, which could cost teams very dearly in this tournament.

  • Prats6 on April 19, 2009, 18:03 GMT

    This is really disgusting .. Did not see the match but expected better sense to prevail. But the only sense I can see is more and more nudity by the IPL.

  • r_sudip on April 19, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    Rain or no rain a time-out just doesn't make sense in cricket. It may be okay in other sports like basketball or football when both teams on field are doing the same thing but in cricket when one team is batting and the other team bowling/fielding what purpose does a strategic break going to serve. What strategy is the batting team going to talk about..are they going to speculate the bowling changes or which ball of an over is going to be a bouncer/yorker or perhaps the coach will say "the last six went only 75m..make sure the next one goes 90m"?

    If anything such timeout is only going to break the concentration and rythm of the batters as it happened with bopara today.

  • adarsh89 on April 19, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    Well said. It is a shame to see 6 overs matches, fit to be played only in the backyards. Soon,we would be seeing facebook style cricket, where scoreboards can be randomly generated by clicking a button!

  • avkris on April 19, 2009, 15:30 GMT

    I cudnt agree more. I was really shocked when they took the Time-out today,coz there were only 12 overs in the match anyway. But they did take it and I would really have been furious had Delhi been denied a chance to win in the end with the rain coming, being a big time Viru fan and hence a Daredevils fan!! But on the other hand it was today that the Time-out did prove really effective as Punjab lost their way and Delhi clawed their way back in. Still atleast in a rain marred match, the Time-out really doesn't make sense though.

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  • avkris on April 19, 2009, 15:30 GMT

    I cudnt agree more. I was really shocked when they took the Time-out today,coz there were only 12 overs in the match anyway. But they did take it and I would really have been furious had Delhi been denied a chance to win in the end with the rain coming, being a big time Viru fan and hence a Daredevils fan!! But on the other hand it was today that the Time-out did prove really effective as Punjab lost their way and Delhi clawed their way back in. Still atleast in a rain marred match, the Time-out really doesn't make sense though.

  • adarsh89 on April 19, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    Well said. It is a shame to see 6 overs matches, fit to be played only in the backyards. Soon,we would be seeing facebook style cricket, where scoreboards can be randomly generated by clicking a button!

  • r_sudip on April 19, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    Rain or no rain a time-out just doesn't make sense in cricket. It may be okay in other sports like basketball or football when both teams on field are doing the same thing but in cricket when one team is batting and the other team bowling/fielding what purpose does a strategic break going to serve. What strategy is the batting team going to talk about..are they going to speculate the bowling changes or which ball of an over is going to be a bouncer/yorker or perhaps the coach will say "the last six went only 75m..make sure the next one goes 90m"?

    If anything such timeout is only going to break the concentration and rythm of the batters as it happened with bopara today.

  • Prats6 on April 19, 2009, 18:03 GMT

    This is really disgusting .. Did not see the match but expected better sense to prevail. But the only sense I can see is more and more nudity by the IPL.

  • chaitanyaramachandran on April 19, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    Absolutely right. What made this even more inexplicable was that during the 2+ hours of rain-induced delay, audiences in India were subjected to a never-ending torrent of advertising. What then was the need to force the tactical time-out as well? The delay allowed virtually three matches worth of advertising. Also, given that the IPL schedule does not allow for replays, I think in rain-affected situations such as today's, the IPL management should be ready to do away with the silly tactical time-out The potential cost of not doing so is abandoning the match, which could cost teams very dearly in this tournament.

  • hytman on April 19, 2009, 18:33 GMT

    i agree this can affect the momentum of this seasons ipl greatly. thus viewers will lose interest-how will they benifit after this?

  • bipulkumar on April 19, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    Next IPL will have a 10 mins tactical break after every over. Team needs time to think. Earlier IPL viewing used to be like watching a thriller movie with an intermission, now it is like saas-bahu tv serial where there is break before you feel engaged.

  • Daigomi on April 19, 2009, 19:03 GMT

    While I agree that the time-outs did break up play slightly during the day, it was still Bopara's own fault he lost his wicket after the time-out. Drinks breaks during tests and one-days are just as long, and you don't hear complaints every time a player loses his wicket right after drinks. These are professional players, and they should be able to keep their concentration for seven minutes. Furthermore, as a spectator the seven minutes really don't feel that long. You watch the interview they have with the children getting their money, or the girl winning her trip to Bollywood, you go to the bathroom, and when you come back it's done. I found it much less annoying than I expected to.

    Also, I'd just really like to complain about the quality of coverage on cricinfo regarding the IPL. I feel that some writers have an axe to grind against the IPL, rather than making objective reports. The report made yesterday regarding the first games was as far away from the truth as could be

  • Daigomi on April 19, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    While last night's game wasn't watched by 80,000 people, it was as close to a full house as I've seen in Cape Town, and in no way was the crowd uncertain of who to support. They supported the players and they supported the great cricket. So far we have had four games, some which have been tight, others which have not, but all of which have been enjoyable, and for the most part have gone off without a fault on the organizers part. But I am yet to read that in the reports here.

  • HowZatbro on April 19, 2009, 19:25 GMT

    6 over matches are not cricket, its sheer and utter nonsense. This charade of 10 minute commercial breaks and narcissistic TV commentary will ensure a short shelf life for the IPL.