The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to put in place some stringent playing conditions for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
In a bid to improve the quality of the game and the viewership experience, the BCCI has implemented certain modifications to the existing rules. Changes related to slow-over rates, soft signals, super overs, and short runs have been made ahead of this season.
Here is an in-depth look at these changes to the playing conditions for IPL 2021:
90 minute time-limit for 20 overs
It is now mandatory for the teams to deliver their 20 overs within 90 minutes (85 minutes play time and 5 minutes time-out). Slow over-rates have been a concern for a long time now, with some games extending beyond midnight despite a 30-minute early start last year.
Unlike previous seasons, even the 20th over of the innings should be completed within these 90 minutes. However, it is to be noted that there is no change in the sanctions for slow over-rates. In an email to the franchises, the IPL indicated that this move was to "control the match timings".
"The minimum over rate to be achieved in IPL Matches shall be 14.11 overs per hour (ignoring the time taken by time-outs)," the IPL said in the updated playing conditions guidelines uploaded on the official website.
"In uninterrupted matches, this means that the 20th over should finish within 90 minutes (being 85 minutes of playing time plus 5 minutes of time-out) of the start of the innings. For delayed or interrupted matches where an innings is scheduled to be less than 20 overs, the maximum time of 90 minutes shall be reduced by 4 minutes 15 seconds for every over by which the innings is reduced."
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The IPL team captain will be fined ₹12 lakh and ₹24 lakh for the first two offences, respectively. The third offence will result in a fine of ₹30 lakh and a one-match ban. From the second offence onwards, ₹6 lakh/25 per cent match-fee (whichever is lower) will be the penalty for each team member. For any subsequent violations, they'd be fined ₹12 lakhs/50 per cent match-fee.
No soft signal for catches and field obstructions
With soft signals from on-field umpires coming under scrutiny after the recent India-England series, the IPL has decided to do away with this regulation. The third umpire will be the sole adjudicator of all decisions sent to him.
"The third umpire shall determine whether the batsman has been caught, whether the delivery was a Bump Ball, or if the batsman willfully obstructed the field. In case of a fair catch, the third umpire will use all the technological support available to him/her," read the mail.
Time limit for Super Overs
In IPL 2021, Super Overs will have to be played within an hour of a tied match. This decision was taken after a couple of games in IPL 2020 dragged into the second super over, with the game going well beyond the stipulated time.
If the winner is not decided within this hour, both teams taking part will get one point each.
"If the teams' scores are equal after both innings have been completed then a Super Over shall be played," the IPL said. "If the Super Over is a tie, then unless exceptional circumstances arise subsequent Super Overs shall be played from the actual finish time of the tied match for an hour's time until there is a winner. The Match Referee will inform the teams as to when the last super over will start. Should it not be possible to play or complete the Super Overs needed to determine a winner, the match shall be tied."
Short-run decisions to be taken by third umpire
Punjab Kings (PBKS) fans are unlikely to forget the agony caused to them due to a wrong short run call by an on-field umpire during IPL 2020. Had a correct decision been made in that game against the Delhi Capitals (DC), the team might have found themselves with a better chance of making it to the playoffs.
To avoid further controversy of this sort, short-run decisions will be taken by the third umpire from now on.
"If the short-run is called an automatic check by the third umpire takes place to confirm or overturn," the ICC statement read