The ICC CEC approved changes to over-rate sanctions at the annual conference in Durban last week. (Reuters Photo)
BCCI sources have categorically denied any discussions, by coach or players, with the ICC on slow over-rate sanctions before, during and after the WTC final.
International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to change slow over-rate sanctions in the middle of ongoing Ashes between England and Australia has raised questions on timing of the move. The recent revelations by Usman Khawaja, where he claimed to have played a crucial role in discussions with ICC General Manager Wasim Khan, who happens to be his good friend, added fuel to the fire.
News18 CricketNext reached out to ICC and questioned the timing of the rule change. A spokesperson revealed GM Khan spoke with number of head coaches, “including at the WTC final”.
“Recently the GM – Cricket has been in dialogue with a number of Head Coaches, including at the World Test Championship Final, on areas that can be improved in the game from overrates to pitch markings,” said the ICC spokesperson.
A top BCCI source, however, has categorically denied any discussions with ICC on slow over-rate sanctions or concerns around them. Neither the head coach Rahul Dravid or any player has had a chat with ICC before, during and after the WTC final.
“There has been no dialogue with the ICC on slow over-rate sanctions. I can confirm that neither the head coach Dravid nor any player spoke with the ICC or raised any concerns regarding the old arrangement,” says the BCCI source.
The source further explained that since India mostly plays two or three spinners, the over-rate is never a major concern. The exception came at the WTC final where India went with Ravindra Jadeja alongside four seamers.
“Let’s understand that India play two spinners in most of the Tests and some of our home Tests, three spinners are in action. So over-rate is never a major concern for us, hence there was never any dialogue with the ICC. The recent WTC final, where India were fined, was probably one of the few occasions where India played just one spinner,” adds the source.
The role of GM Wasim Khan
After his controversial remark on India-Pakistan fixture earlier this year, ICC GM Khan is again in the news for his role in taking Khawaja and Australian camp’s over-rate concerns to the table. The global cricketing body says Khan is also a member of the Men’s Cricket Committee, chaired by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, and constantly engages with cricket boards, players or officials for feedback.
“The ICC General Manager – Cricket is also a member of the Men’s and Women’s Cricket Committees and is therefore available to discuss cricket matters whether it is directly with Cricket Boards, players or officials. Ensuring the ICC is open to feedback and ideas in the pursuit of making improvements in our game is critical for any progressive sport. Cricket Boards and players are keen to engage with ICC about different cricketing topics and areas involved within the game,” says the ICC spokesperson.
Any feedback which merits a discussion first reaches the Ganguly-led committee’s table which then pushes it to the ICC CEC for approval.
“Areas of concern or issues are raised with the GM – Cricket either from international team management, or directly by the Cricket Boards. Those matters are then escalated to Sourav Ganguly, the Chair of the Men’s Cricket Committee, or to Clare Connor, the Chair of the Women’s Cricket Committee for further examination. They will then decide on whether the topic requires further debate and action at the Committees which are made up of former and current players, match officials and broadcasters from around the world. Any recommendations from the Cricket Committees as a result of these discussions are then taken forward to CEC for approval,” adds the spokesperson.
The ICC CEC approved changes to over-rate sanctions at the annual conference in Durban last week and it was decided that it would be “applied from the start of the current World Test Championship cycle”. As CricketNext reported on July 18, the existing sanctions, imposed during the ongoing Ashes, will not be completely waived off.
“Fines and penalty points will not be universally waived from the first three Test matches, instead they will be re-calculated and the appropriate sanctions will be applied in line with the agreed changes to the revised threshold. It is important to note that if teams are found guilty of breaching the overrate requirements, WTC penalty points will apply, as will reduced player fines,” explains the ICC spokesperson.