The opening ODI between Australia and India has reignited debate over how best to punish slow over rates, with spinner Adam Zampa suggesting Friday’s tedium was not a good look for the game.
Aaron Finch’s side secured a 66-run victory at 11.09pm AEDT on Friday, almost an hour beyond the expected finish.
SCG staff stressed about the venue’s curfew, fans grew frustrated and players knew something was amiss as the lopsided contest dragged on and on and on.
Legend Shane Warne, commentating on Fox Sports during the match, opined that “over-rates in all forms of the game are at an all-time low … they [the ICC] have to come down hard”.
Test great Jason Gillespie, who has previously proposed in-game run penalties for tardiness, was also among those suggesting on Friday that more needs to be done, while the players acknowledged the issue after the match.
“It felt like it went all day. That was the longest 50 overs in the field I’ve ever had,” man-of-the-match Steve Smith said.
The International Cricket Council changed its rules last year, ensuring captains are no longer issued demerit points and put at risk of suspensions for slow over rates.
Match referees now have the power to fine entire teams, which is what happened to India in three consecutive games earlier this year during a tour of New Zealand.
Zampa, who snared 4-54 to help put Australia 1-0 up in the three-match series, agreed “something definitely has to be done about it”.
“From a viewer’s point of view, it’s not the best look for the game,” Zampa told reporters.
“It will definitely improve.
“Hopefully after getting those cobwebs out and getting those miles in the legs, you’ll see some more intensity in the next two games.”
Protesting pitch invaders resulted in a short delay but players were otherwise responsible for the go-slow.
“It does take a long while to get back in the swing of things, particularly in ODI cricket,” Zampa said.
“If you haven’t played for a while the intensity isn’t quite there.”
Virat Kohli’s side and the majority of Australia’s XI recently took part in the Indian Premier League then spent a fortnight in hotel quarantine after the Twenty20 tournament.
Players were permitted by NSW Health to train once a day during the two weeks but were otherwise locked in their respective hotel rooms.
The three-match ODI series continues at the SCG on Sunday.