Ganguly rails against an ICC rule

Sourav Ganguly might have landed himself in trouble after terming as "ridiculous" a decision taken by the ICC not to dock overs from the side bowling first if it fails to complete its quota of overs in the stipulated time. The Pakistani bowlers, who conceded 30 runs in wides and no-balls, consumed nearly 20 additional minutes to complete their 50 overs, and Ganguly wasn't amused to learn that Pakistan's batsmen would still have 50 overs available to them.

"At the break, when I went to the match referee to ask how many overs Pakistan had to get the target in, he said there would be no overs docked," Ganguly said. "I find that ridiculous. We weren't told about it in the meeting with the match referee [Ranjan Madugalle] yesterday, but irrespective of [that], I think the rule is totally ridiculous.

"When you are in a tight situation, and when winning and not losing is so important, players don't mind foregoing money. In the '70s and '80s, people used to speak of the West Indies' slow over-rate, that they bowled only 11 or 12 overs an hour. If this persists, I think that situation will return again."

What Ganguly does not realise is that the rule actually changed more than a year ago. It was on April 1, 2003, just after the World Cup, that it came into effect. The ICC Playing Handbook for 2003-04, which most journalists carry, says that in the event of the over-rate being below that required by ICC regulations, the referee shall "impose the following sanction at the end of the match: (i) for each of the first five overs short of the minimum overs required, 5% of each player's gross match fee in the fielding side; (ii) for the sixth and any subsequent over short of the minimum overs required, 10% of each player's gross match fee in the fielding side."

Further, if the number of overs short is more than two overs in a one-dayer, the captain will be charged with conduct contrary to the spirit of the game and could be suspended. This was first put in practice in the Sharjah Cup that began on April 3, 2003, just two days after the rule came into force.

By questioning a year-old regulation, Ganguly has not only advertised his ignorance of the new regulations, but might also have laid himself open to a charge of breach of conduct.