The T20 World Cup has been kicked off in Australia and the hosts have come up with a unique idea to save time and avoid the fielding restriction penalty. As a clever ploy from the Aussies, they are stationing players, who are on the bench, all around outside the fence to get back the ball quickly and save time during powerplay.
In its efforts to help accelerate the speed of a cricket game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) in January 2022 had implemented the slow over rate penalty in T20I cricket. The slow overrate in T20 Internationals results in a fielder less outside of the 30-yard circle for the remaining overs of the innings. It’s an in-match penalty when the bowling team fails to complete the innings by a stipulated time.
Explaining Australia’s strategy, all-rounder Ashton Agar said in a video, “In the powerplay, obviously the ball flies around and you lose time when players have to go and fetch the ball which is a part of cricket. So the time thing is a really difficult one to manage. So I guess stationing the guys who are on the bench around the ground does save you 10 seconds here and there. Potentially. And that all adds up at the end of the day. It’s not really giving you an advantage, it just makes sense. I think it’s common sense in the powerplay to do that.”
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 19, 2022
The slow over rate penalty in T20I cricket was first used in a one-off T20I between West Indies and Ireland on January 16, 2022. It was also enforced during an Asia Cup 2022 match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.
As per ICC rules, “Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel relates to minimum over-rate offences and players are fined 20 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.”