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Former top umpire calls on officials to address time wasting

India, however, were only found to have been one over short, meaning umpires found 28 minutes in “allowances” for other delays including a player injury, a field invasion by Adani mine protesters and glove changes by Australia’s batsmen.

It was also the first men’s international in Australia in which the ball had to be cleaned by umpires when it had crossed the boundary and been handled by a crowd member.

Australian umpire Sam Nogajski cleans the ball after it was returned from the crowd from a six during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Australian umpire Sam Nogajski cleans the ball after it was returned from the crowd from a six during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground.Credit:Getty Images

On Sunday, in the second ODI, India were also 20 minutes behind in delivering their 50 overs.

Taufel, who won the first five ICC umpire of the year awards from 2004 to 2008, was an inaugural member of the ICC cricket committee and was later in charge of global umpire performance, said before the second match that administrators needed to address interruptions beyond the fielding team’s control as well as ensuring they maintained their over rates.

“When someone like Shane Warne says it takes four hours and six minutes to get through 50 overs, well it’s right but it’s not entirely the fault of the fielding side,” Taufel said on Sunday.

“When you take into account interruptions like extra drinks or glove changes or bat changes, when you consider factors outside of the ground such as invasions or sightscreen delays, they all add up.

“As we know the flow of the game is incredibly important and when you break the rhythm and routine of the bowling team, one side stops and the other side stops and you don’t get that consistent flow.”

Taufel, who will provide umpiring analysis for Channel Seven this summer, said match officials needed to continue to encourage bowling sides to speed up “but it’s also incumbent on ground administrators and authorities to actually minimise the amount of interruptions”.

Former top umpire Simon Taufel.

Former top umpire Simon Taufel.Credit:AP

He said player referrals and umpire reviews on dismissals and boundaries were other contributing factors, meaning there was a “price to pay” for technology.

“In theory the umpiring team have found 28 minutes in allowances (in the first ODI). Where did those allowances come from?” he said.

“No doubt the bowling side could have done a bit better and the umpires’ job is to push them. The players know if they don’t maintain the over rate there is a penalty to pay.

A protester walks onto the pitch during play during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on November 27, 2020 in Sydney.

A protester walks onto the pitch during play during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on November 27, 2020 in Sydney.Credit:Getty Images

“But there must have been 28 minutes of allowances to the Indian team [on Friday night] … I think that’s the issue. How do we reduce that 28 minutes?”

Taufel said when he was on the ICC cricket committee its members had discussed whether batting sides could be made to pay a penalty for using up too much time with delays like gloves and bat changes by having their allocated time to bowl their overs reduced.

Umpires provide the fielding captain with regular updates during an innings about their over rates, letting them know if they’re ahead of pace, on track to complete their overs in time or needing to catch up.

If there were other factors leading to play being slowed down, Taufel said, it left umpires “between a rock and a hard place”.

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“When they tell the captains they’re square or one over down they’re not worried too much,” he said.

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