What is slow over rate in the sport of cricket?

Cricket began as a leisurely sport in some parts of England. However, as it’s popularity rose and different nations started playing each other, the game became more competitive. Multi-nations events like the World Cup were held and the sport gradually diversified into more than one format.

Broadcast and media were a significant part of the sport. Now that multiple teams were competing and the sport has a definite season to follow across the year, each match had to be timed to ensure that the sport has a certain consistent pace. This also meant that there was a threshold now for the players to maintain in terms of their fitness.

In each discipline of the sport, namely test cricket, one day internationals and T20, teams are now required to bowl a certain number of overs per hour. The rigor of the laws can be explained by the fact that there now exists a rule wherein a team may have to send a player off the field in the tail overs if a said number of overs are not bowled within a given time.

According to the current rules, test cricket, wherein the number of overs bowled in a day cannot exceed 90 and the number of overs for an innings does not have a limit, the bowling side is expected to bowl 15 overs per hour. In limited overs cricket like One Day Internationals, teams have to bowl the 50 overs in three and a half hours. In T20 cricket, all 20 overs of an innings must be bowled by 1 hour and 25 minutes.

If a team does not keep up with the over rate, then the match referee has the right to fine the players or the captain for a slow over rate. Moreover, if the over rate is drastically slow, then the captain may even be suspended for some matches. In multi-nation events, teams can be fined with point deduction which can be detrimental to their progress in the league stages.

Slow over rate can be avoided if the captain keeps an eye on the clock and the number of overs bowled. By doing so, if the captain feels that they are behind the over rate, then they can introduce spinners, whose overs tend to complete more quickly. Moreover, the captain can also be in touch with the on-field umpire to check with them regarding the over rate.

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