Over rates…get on with it!

“Get on with it!”

All too often, as the over rate drops and the game drags, you will hear this cry from the stands, or the lone fielder stationed out on the boundary.

I have railed against slow over-rates before, without ever setting out in any detail what I thought needed to be done. Shouting “get on with it”, whilst heart-felt, doesn’t actually help!

Fines for slow rates, or penalty runs, can really only be applied when the game is run by independent match officials.

So –  can anything be done by the players to speed up the game?
Slow over rates – any answers?

You can try running into fielding positions between deliveries and overs, but I find this a little artificial, and ineffective, especially when one player (often the bowler, or the captain) doesn’t keep up with the rest of the team. This just leads to frustration for the batsmen, the umpires, and the other fielders, as they wait for the late-comer(s).

Running between overs can give the impression of a rapid over-rate, but there are better, more reliable ways of keeping the game moving.

Between deliveries

1.   Have the bowler get straight back to his mark after he has bowled.

Don’t let him stand at the end of his follow-through, waiting for the ball to be returned – return the ball to the bowler only when he is at least half-way back to his mark.

2.   Send the ball back around the inner ring of fielders.

Short, under-arm throws, from hand to hand, via the “designated polisher” if you have one. There is nothing more tedious (or time-wasting) than having to run to retrieve a wayward throw. Make it easy for your team mates!

3.   As captain, you need to field where you are close to his bowler.

Unless you are a specialist slip catcher, get used to fielding at mid-off or mid-on, so you can talk to the bowler between deliveries as he walks back to his mark. No conversations in mid-pitch, please!

Between overs

1.   Consider having a “mirror” field.

At the end of the over, cover becomes mid-wicket, mid-off goes to square leg, etc. (and vice versa). We all notice when someone has to run from long-on to long-on between overs, but how often do we still see four or five players crossing the pitch between overs? Save the fielders’ legs (and a few minutes in every hour, waiting for players to cross over).

One caveat – if you really do have only one fielder who can be relied on to hold the skied catch at long-on, then you will just have to wait for him to get there. Keep your specialists in position. And that includes the captain himself.

2.   Deliver the ball to the bowler at the top of his run-up.

Have a fielder collect the bowler’s cap and sweater and take them to the umpire. Don’t watch the bowler walk all the way in to the stumps, have a chat with the umpire, then amble back to his mark…

It all adds up!

Save just 2 seconds on each ball, 12 seconds per over, and 10 seconds between overs, and you will fit in (at least) an extra over each hour – you can do the maths!

Keep the game moving, and not only will you bowl your overs quicker, but you will make the batsmen feel as if you want to get on with the game, and get them out.

Get on with it!

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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