ICC should take another look at over-rate rules …but players must also take responsibility

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Jason Holder

(Jamaica Observer) The International Cricket Council (ICC) is taking flak for its decision to impose a one-match ban on triumphant West Indies Captain Mr Jason Holder for slow over-rate in the second Test against England in Antigua last week.

According to the ICC, West Indies were two overs short of their required quota during the contest at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which they won by 10 wickets with more than two days to spare.

Mr Holder was fined 40 per cent of his match fee — double that of his players — and slapped with the ban, as the breach was the second for the West Indies in 12 months.

The ban means that he will miss the final Test starting this Saturday in St Lucia and will not have the honour of collecting the Wisden trophy at the end of that game, West Indies having already taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series.

Australian spin-bowling great Mr Shane Warne slammed the ICC decision, describing it as ridiculous. He encouraged Mr Holder to file an appeal.

“Where’s the common sense here?” Mr Warne asked in a tweet. “… Congrats on a wonderful series win too. International cricket needs a strong Windies team & hopefully this is just the start. The fans at the ground saw some awesome cricket from you & your team. No one at the ground would have felt short-changed whatsoever. What a ridiculous decision, & I hope this will be overturned!”

Former England Captain Mr Michael Vaughn described the ICC’s decision as “bonkers”, arguing that the over-rate breach was irrelevant, given that the match lasted less than three days.

Another former England captain, Mr Mike Atherton, also called the ban “ridiculous”.

Mr Andrew Miller, ESPNcricinfo’s UK editor, was caustic, saying the ICC “made a miserable, self-flagellatory, joy-sucking pronouncement, one that goes against the wishes of pretty much every cricket-lover in the globe… not least the put-upon England fans who, in-between their howls of despair at their lame-brained glory-slogging batsmen, have secretly rather enjoyed this month’s reminder of what Test cricket used to be”.

Indeed, Mr Miller, in his column published on Monday, asked a very pertinent question: “Why on earth do people get so worked up about over-rates anyway? Particularly in Test cricket, a form of the sport which is… not exactly built for speed.”

Cricket commentator Mr Mike Haysman has called for a review of the controversial ICC rule, tweeting that, “It makes no sense to suspend leaders who excel inside the stipulated five days.”

Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron has called on the ICC to review its policy, describing Mr Holder’s absence from the third Test as a “crippling” decision that will overshadow a famous series win over England.

We make no apology in stating that rules are meant to be observed. As such, we don’t fault the ICC for enforcing them. However, we feel the global administrators need to take another look at their over-rate rule. Truthfully, the current situation has made them look silly.

All that said, the West Indies players shouldn’t be made to believe they are blameless. It was only two overs. As professionals they should have done whatever they had to do to get them in.

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