One of the biggest concerns for the Indian Premier League organisers this season, apart from the sub-standard umpiring, has been the delayed finishes of most matches.

The evening matches of the IPL start at 8 pm IST and almost always run past midnight. Reacting to this problem, Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman AB de Villiers has said that the T20 tournament has to find a way to maintain a set time-frame.

“There’s no shame involved, and it happens to everybody in middle age, but it’s important to stay in shape,” de Villiers wrote in a column for The Times of India. “Maybe the IPL needs to get into the gym. Matches are supposed to be completed within three-and-a-half hours, enough time for both innings, strategic time-outs and a break. However, in 2019, IPL games have been running for longer than four hours, with matches starting at 8 pm and finishing well past midnight.”

According to the IPL rules, each inning of a match should be completed in 90 minutes, including the two Strategic Timeouts of two-and-a-half minutes each. Add a 20-minute break between both innings and the match should finish in 200 minutes.

There is provision for a ten-minute extension for injuries or other unexpected reasons but even then, matches this season have been going well past their deadline. De Villiers believes there’s one simple solution to fix this problem to an extent.

“One easy fix could be to reduce the break between innings from the current 20 minutes to a manageable 10 minute,” suggests the South African. “When a super over had been completed to decide the match between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders, it felt as if it was time for breakfast.”

This IPL season itself, three captains have been fined Rs 12 lakh each for slower over-rates – RCB’s Virat Kohli, Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma and Rajasthan Royals’ Ajinkya Rahane have been penalised. But a monetary penalty hardly seems like a definitive solution.

“There is a system in place whereby the captain is penalised if his team fails to maintain the required over rate while bowling,” de Villiers wrote. “This involves a fine for the first offence followed by suspension, but the impact of these measures appears minimal, roughly equivalent to the weight loss of an obese gentleman who orders two giant hamburgers and a diet Coke!”