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Inspired by the strategy time-out, 11 other breaks that cricket can work into games

Adam Gilchrist congratulates RP Singh on a job a well done, Bangalore Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers, IPL, 8th game, Cape Town, April 22, 2009
"Next time I'm going to really break your neck, so we get a decent time-out" © AFP

The strategy break, or tactical time-out (where the batting team says, "We must score more runs faster; a couple of sixes will help" and the bowling team says, "We must cut down the runs and take a couple of wickets") is not the only surprise the IPL has in store. We know the million-dollar advertising rate for a two-and-a-half minute slot during the strategy break is pure coincidence. Some of the following breaks have been lined up for the rest of the matches. Some may already be in force.

1. The Dog-Running-Onto-The-Ground Break
After some six overs of the first game, the first dog - second only to rain as cricket's constant companion - arrived. The advertisements during the ensuing break apparently took care of the salaries of half the Chennai team.

2. The Injury-Break Break
One player is nominated during each match to fake an injury. The cameras then move away from the action, and television viewers are treated to a whole cycle of advertisements. The time is not important, timing is.

3. The Ball-Change Break
Grounds are encouraged to have at least one unfit, overweight, knock-kneed official with sciatica, whose job it is to waddle to the field with replacement cricket balls, while the cameras move away and television viewers are treated to you-know-what.

4. The Floodlights-Go-Dark Break
Another official's job is to switch off the floodlights at a psychological moment so the cameras get a rest and we are told what toothpaste, car or brand of electrical switch to buy.

5. The Arguing-With-Umpire Break
Captains are paid a bonus to bring the game to a halt by arguing with the umpire. "If you don't change the ball, I will refuse to let my player fake an injury and ignore any dog that runs onto the pitch," is a good start.

6. The Wicketkeeper-Changing-Pads Break
This could evolve into (5) above, and keep the viewer's attention riveted on the lack of action on television.

7. The Sightscreen-Shift Break
And sometimes, for variety, the Spectator-Walking-In-Front-Of-The-Sightscreen break.

8. The Substitute-Who-Trips-And-Falls-While-Running-Up-With-A-Message-For-The-Batsman Break

9. The Player-Troubled-By-An-Earthworm-Who-Picks-It-Up-And-Hands-It-Over-To-The-Umpire Break

10. There-Hasn't-Been-A-Break-For-Some Time Break
Players who make a mere million or so from their weeks in South Africa are entitled to a bonus if they can bring the game to a halt creatively and naturally when if there hasn't been a break for a while.

11. The Commentator-Has-Misplaced-His-List-Of-Superlatives Break
e.g. Mark Nicholas forgets to say "You beauty," when a batsman trying to swing the ball to midwicket mis-hits to third man for a six. Action is stopped while the commentators search for their Hype Bible.

Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore

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