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Breaches and bans – all you need to know about over-rate offences

Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith and Sourav Ganguly are the captains under whose watch a high number of overs were lost. However, while Ponting and Smith captained 287 and 286 matches to be short by 36 and 34 overs respectively, Ganguly captained in only 64 matches since April 2003, but was in charge of a team that was short by 31 overs. Virat Kohli’s side has been short by only one over in 129 matches played under him.

Captains with no over-rate violations 

India’s transformation

India began to transform as they became more and more spin-oriented under MS Dhoni, and then as a disciplined bowling unit on the whole, that still had enough spin, under Kohli. It might surprise you if you have seen a lot of Indian cricket in the 2000s, but India hold the longest streak without an over-rate offence. The last time they were found short was at The Oval back in 2014. Ravindra Jadeja has never been part of a side found short on overs. India’s is a streak of 216 matches, comfortably ahead of Bangladesh’s 190 at second spot. West Indies’ best streak has been 48 matches.

Longest streaks without a breach Team-wise data for longest streaks without a breach Getty Images

It’s not always pace

As you would expect, most of the breaches happen when a high proportion of overs is bowled by the quicks – when Faf du Plessis was banned recently, he bowled no spin – but there have been a few instances when sides have failed to maintain the acceptable rate even with spinners on. Rahul Dravid once bowled only 16 overs of pace in an ODI innings, and yet fell short by two overs – against Australia in Gwalior in 2003.

Captains with the most overs short per match 

Do Big Three players get away with it?

That is the question always asked because the last few captains to be banned have been from West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies again, Sri Lanka again, Sri Lanka yet again, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Pakistan again. This is a question difficult to answer unless you sit with a stopwatch and note every allowance made for every delay during every match. If you agree, though, with match referees – and that’s their job so there’s little point doubting them without evidence – the penalties sound about right.

Since 2003, in all formats put together, West Indies have been short in 6.45% of their matches, Pakistan in 4.38% and South Africa in 3.69%.

Sri Lanka are an interesting case study. Their overall rate of breaches since 2003 – 3.24% – is close to India’s and Australia’s, but they have a big variance: excellent when at home, with the vast majority of the bowling done by the spinners, but slow when using quicks.

Who goes over most often 

Graphics by Girish TS