The opening ODI between Australia and India has reignited debate over how best to punish slow over rates, with Adam Zampa suggesting Friday’s tedium was not a good look for the game.
Aaron Finch’s side secured a 66-run victory at 11.09pm AEDT on Friday night, almost an hour beyond the expected finish.
SCG staff stressed about the venue’s curfew, fans grew frustrated and players knew something was amiss as the lopsided contest dragged on and on and on.
“It felt like it went all day. That was the longest 50 overs in the field I’ve ever had,” man-of-the-match Steve Smith said.
The International Cricket Council changed its rules last year, ensuring captains are no longer issued demerit points and put at risk of suspensions for slow over rates.
Match referees now have the power to fine entire teams, which is what happened to India in three consecutive games earlier this year during a tour of New Zealand.
But former Australian internationals Jason Gillespie and Callum Ferguson said batting sides must take some responsibility for their role in the go-slow.
“It comes down to the umpires being a bit stricter with what the players can and can’t do,” Gillespie told ABC radio on Saturday.
“I don’t see the need for batsmen to change their gloves every two overs.”
Ferguson believes “players are changing their gloves an extraordinary amount” compared to what is necessary.
“Your gloves are going to get a bit damp every now and then, so maybe then you’ve got to just be able to adapt and make sure that it’s not affecting your game too much,” he said.
“It doesn’t seem to be necessary for players at domestic level to change them as often as they are at international level, and I just wonder whether we need to put a little bit of a cap on it.”
Gillespie renewed his proposal to introduce in-game run penalties for tardiness, while Ferguson believes cricketers are making a mockery of over rates once they reach the top of the game.
“It doesn’t seem to be a huge issue at domestic level,” he said.
“Why do (international) captains and players feel like it’s ok to stroll between overs, when you see in domestic competitions around the world players sprinting between overs trying to make sure the keep up with the over rate?”
Spin legend Shane Warne, commentating on Fox Sports during the match, opined that “over rates in all forms of the game are at an all-time low … they (the ICC) have to come down hard”.
Ferguson said the ICC’s recent rule changes have contributed to a “lack of pressure” on teams by administrators.
“I don’t understand how it’s been able to happen for so long, not just in this format, but all three formats,” he said.
“We need to start taking a harder line, work out what’s going to hurt the players the most.”
Zampa, who snared 4-54 to help put Australia 1-0 up in the three-match series, agreed “something definitely has to be done about it”.
“From a viewer’s point of view, it’s not the best look for the game. It will definitely improve,” Zampa told reporters.
“Hopefully after getting those cobwebs out and getting those miles in the legs, you’ll see some more intensity in the next two games.”
Protesting pitch invaders resulted in a short delay but players were otherwise responsible on Friday night.
“It does take a long while to get back in the swing of things, particularly in ODI cricket,” Zampa said.
“If you haven’t played for a while the intensity isn’t quite there.”
– with 7NEWS