The new season of the Indian Premier League is here and it was off to a great start with Royal Challengers Bangalore winning against Mumbai Indians by 2 wickets on the last ball of the match. It was a riveting start to India's very own festival. While it would have been great to review the terrific encounter, it was another point that stuck out like a sore thumb. No, I am not talking about the fielding which was equally bad but about the perineal problem of Over rates.
T20 was always supposed to be the marketable cricket format. It was something that could be packed in a slot and can be perfect for monetization & TV audiences. When it started, it was supposed to be a 3-hour game, with a lot of entertainment. But in recent years, T20s hardly finish in 3 hours with some games stretching to even 4 hours. In the IPL too, the over rates have been terrible. Even if you excuse the innings break and timeouts, there's no way that a T20 match should be stretching from 7:30 pm to 11:25 pm.
There was a bit of hope that was given by the BCCI this time around when they made changes to the IPL playing conditions and included the 20th over within the 90 minutes framework and there were articles which claimed that BCCI was going to be strict with this time limit and they will ask the umpires to enforce this properly.
But like every other hope of change, this too didn't amount to anything. The first match of the tournament itself went on for almost four hours. There was blatant time-wasting from both sides but umpires hardly seemed to be bothered. There were too many stoppages and hardly an urgency to finish the overs in the given period. There was a conference almost after every over further slowing down the over rate. Umpires were just mere spectators to these mini-conferences. The batsmen too, doing their bit by taking an eternity for calling out for spare gloves or new bats or hydration.
Just making changes in the playing conditions wasn't really going to help the cause. Also, Fines are hardly ever an issue for these players. If BCCI was indeed serious about the over rates and the 90 minutes cap, they would have introduced negative points for each over that's not completed in the given time. Till that happens, a 90-minute innings would just remain a dream.
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