ICC should come down heavily on slow over rates: Nick Hockley

Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley wants a “firm stance” on the issue of slow over rates in the ongoing five-Test Ashes series and said that such issues was coming in the way of entertaining cricket for the fans and the paying public.

Notably, the touring England team were fined heavily after their nine-wicket loss in the opening Ashes Test at The Gabba for not bowling enough overs, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee David Boon docking English player 100 per cent of their match fee after the tourists fell five overs short of the number of overs they were supposed to bowl during the Test.

Meanwhile, the ENgland team, led by Joe Root, was also docked five ICC World Test Championship (WTC) points.

Although the touring side improved their over rates in the second Test at the Adelaide Oval, Hockley said that he favoured the ICC doing everything it can to ensure teams bowl their full quota of overs every day of a Test match.

“The penalties are pretty harsh and that should be a really strong disincentive,” Hockley said on Sportsday on Friday.

“The fact it happened in the first Test match was a really big reminder and we saw in the second Test that the two teams were right on top of their over rates. I’m all in favour of the ICC taking a really firm stance and ultimately we want to provide as much entertaining cricket for the fans as possible. I’d like to see both teams and all teams around the world (speed things up), the same goes for the Big Bash (League) so we make sure we get through the overs,” he added.

After the first Test, the Root-led England side also went down in the second affair by 275 runs as a result of which hosts Australia currently lead the five-match series 2-0.

The hosts will now be looking to clinch the Ashes series when the third Test gets underway at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on December 26.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hockley had confirmed that heightened levels of protocols will be implemented during the ongoing Ashes series between the hosts and England from the Boxing Day Test onwards.

Hockley said that the level had been raised from three to four due to the evolving COVID-19 situation in Australia.

Notably, newly-appointed Australia captain Pat Cummins was forced to miss the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval after the pacer had come in close contact with a Covid-positive person while dining out in his country.

“So (for Boxing Day), we’ll be going up from our protocol level 3 to Level 4,” Hockley was quoted as saying by SEN Breakfast.

“We’ve had different levels of protocols depending on the risk environment… even before the Pat (Cummins) situation, Melbourne and Sydney were higher on the risk level than Brisbane and Adelaide and that was due to the number of cases in the community,” Hockley had added.

“Really the main difference (between Level 3 and 4) is that we ask players to avoid big crowded indoor public settings. They can still go out, still go to the beach, still go to the park. They can still go out for dinner, but we ask them to dine outside and in small groups so if there is another hotspot, the whole group is not caught up. So we’re trying to strike that balance between making sure everyone has a great quality of life but also we’re able to keep the series going,” added Hockley.

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