International Cricket

MCC Cricket Committee discusses slow over rate and potential shot clock, run penalty mooted

The Committee also discussed ideas for providing head protection to bowlers, touring Zimbabwe to monitor the situation, the 100-ball format and more.

Armed with statistical analysis from the ICC that over rates in both Test and T20 cricket have slowed down in the past year, the MCC World Cricket Committee on Tuesday expressed concern over the pace of play across the three formats.

The committee, led by former England skipper Mike Gatting, also discussed and floated the idea of a ‘shot clock’ to keep over rates in check as well as recommended harsher penalties for slow rates. The MCC though did not discuss four-day Test cricket during this meeting.

Members of the committee Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly gave their views on a variety of issues facing world cricket.

Ganguly, when asked about the prospect of day-night Test cricket in India, said that the BCCI had initially penciled in a day-night home Test against West Indies for this upcoming season, but then did a U-turn.

“I am a believer in day-night Test cricket and I believe that is the way crowds will return to Test cricket especially in India. But obviously the Indian board has resisted, the players have resisted and we would have to wait to take a call. It is played in other countries like Australia, England, South Africa, etc. I know the Indian board has its own ideas. It is not within the rights of the MCC (to enforce) but we can recommend it and wait for everyone to accept it,” Ganguly said.

“It was decided in the technical committee meeting last year to have a day-night Test at Rajkot this season when the West Indies come in. But the Indian team management have their own ideas and communicated that they were not ready. Maybe it’s the dew conditions at night, or maybe it’s the Kookaburra ball. SG Test does not have a pink ball yet, so we will have to bring in the Kookaburra ball. There are a lot of issues that haven’t been resolved (before day-night Tests come to India),” Ganguly said.

Ponting stressed that once again this year the over rates have been in decline in all three formats of the game.

“So we’ve talked about the idea of the shot clock and that’s basically the dead time in the game. It’s not going to be when the bowler is at the top of his mark and running in because that’s obviously hard to gauge. To put a certain amount of time for an over to be bowled is hard when you get a few boundaries or whatever,” he said.

“But the dead time in the game – end of the over the fielders and bowlers have to be back in position and that’s non-negotiable. The same with the new batsman coming to the crease, the bowling team have to be ready when he gets to the crease,” said Ponting.

Talking about the need for harsher penalties than just financial fines, he said, “We didn’t come to a conclusion on what was the right or wrong. The financial fining of players at the end of a Test match hasn’t been administered very often through the last 12 months. We are of the belief that a then-and-there run penalty in the game would be definitely worth looking at. You would imagine then the captains would take a huge responsibility in making sure their players are ready to go through the course of the day (in a given time).

“If they are not in a position for three or four overs (to catch up with over rate) that could be (a penalty of) 20 runs and in the context of the game we saw last week that could be the difference in a Test match. We feel that what has been in place for a long period of time hasn’t worked. It’s still the responsibility of the on-field captain that his team are ready to play in an appropriate amount of time.”

The MCC World Cricket Committee also discussed ideas for providing head protection to bowlers, MCC touring Zimbabwe to monitor the situation there, the 100-ball format that has been mooted by the ECB, as well as cricket’s global growth strategy.

Regarding the global strategy, the MCC welcomed the ICC’s goal of introducing the game in the 2028 Olympics (Los Angeles), as well as women’s cricket to be included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games (Birmingham).

With inputs from PTI

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.