The recently concluded Ashes series between England and Australia saw an unexpected turn of events as both teams faced disciplinary action from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for their slow over-rate during the matches.

In an official announcement made on Wednesday, the ICC revealed that both teams had been docked points and imposed fines due to their failure to maintain an acceptable over-rate during the series.

Under the revised regulations, England and Australia were fined one World Test Championship (WTC) point for every over short, in addition to facing a financial penalty equivalent to five percent of their match fees.

The newly-introduced points deduction system is part of the ICC’s efforts to ensure teams adhere to the prescribed over-rate rules and maintain a reasonable pace of play.

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In the WTC cycle for 2023-25, teams are awarded 12 points for every Test win and four points for a draw. Despite the Ashes series ending in a 2-2 draw, Australia managed to retain the trophy. However, they were penalized with a deduction of 10 points by the ICC for their slow over-rate in the fourth Test.

On the other hand, England faced a more significant setback in the Ashes series due to their consistent failure to maintain their over-rate. The team lost a total of 19 points for falling behind in their over-rate during four out of the five Tests.

The disciplinary measures were announced during the ICC annual conference in South Africa last month and were implemented with immediate effect. In addition to the points deduction, both England and Australia were fined for their errors.

Australia faced a 50 percent fine of their match fee (equivalent to five percent for each over short, with a maximum of 50 percent) for their slow over-rate in the fourth Test.

England, on the other hand, received fines of 10 percent for the first Test, 45 percent for the second, 15 percent for the fourth, and 25 percent for the fifth of their match fee for slow-over rate offences in the respective matches.

The ICC’s strict stance on over-rate compliance aims to ensure the integrity of the game and to keep matches progressing at a reasonable pace. The penalties imposed on both teams are a reminder to all participating nations to adhere to the prescribed rules and regulations.

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As a result of these penalties, Pakistan currently leads the WTC points table with 24 points following their 2-0 away win against Sri Lanka, followed by India in second place with 16 points. Australia, the winners of the last WTC cycle, and England find themselves in the third and fourth positions, respectively.

Moving forward, teams will need to be more vigilant about their over-rates to avoid facing similar disciplinary actions by the ICC. The focus on maintaining the prescribed pace of play will undoubtedly add an extra layer of competitiveness and excitement to Test cricket, ensuring the fans’ continued engagement with the sport.

By Ritik Sharma

A common man who is doing calm se kaam, a failed cricketer, still in love with it. Establishing my journey into Journalism & if you love my articles then share it with your dear ones Instagram - @ritiksharma45