Usman Khawaja has saved his team’s face a few times with his bat during the Ashes tour. The experienced opener may have also saved his teammates a lot of money and some important World Test Championship (WTC) points. Khawaja probably could have saved Australia around AUD 25,000 and 14 WTC points in total after it came out that he was a key player in the ICC’s latest changes to penalties for slow over rates in Test cricket.
At the recent ICC annual meeting in Durban, the game’s governing body decided to change the penalties for over-rates in Test cricket. This was done to make sure that over-rates are still kept and that players are paid enough. “As a result, players will be fined up to 50% of their match fee for each over short. If a team is out before the new ball is due at 80 overs, even if the over rate is slow, there will be no over-rate punishment. This will replace the current limit of 60 over,” the ICC said.
Khawaja said that he had talked to Wasim Khan, the general manager of the ICC, about his concerns with the current rule, which said that players lost 20% of their match fee for each over they fell short of the deemed goal. India’s players were fined 100% of their match fee at the World Test Championship final last month. Australia’s players were fined 80% of their match fee, and they lost another 40% of the fee after the first Ashes test at Edgbaston.
In the days before the Manchester Test, Khawaja said, “I was pretty upset about what was going on.” “All I could think was that someone needs to find a way to talk to the ICC about it. We had played three really good games that had scores and were entertaining, but we were being fined 80% of our match fee. This is a lot of cash. We’ve been a little late on the over-rates, and ICC has been a little hard on us. Some of those fines, which were killing me, have been changed, thank goodness.
“I knew Wasim Khan because he was part of Pakistan [PCB] and I played in PSL,” Khawaja said. “We just talked, and he’s now the general manager at the ICC. I’m on the board of the ACA, so I do pay attention to what’s going on in cricket. I just thought that someone should figure out how to talk to the ICC about it. We had played three games, and they had all been really good. The WTC final had the most people watching it of any Test match, or something like that. Only really good things. And we had to pay a fine of 80% of our match fee. This is a lot of cash.
“It’s really frustrating as a player because you’re giving it your all, making people happy, and then you get punished for it. I just needed to talk, and Wasim was great. I texted him, called him, and we talked. He used what was said. Pat [Pat Cummins] and Andrew [Andrew McDonald] both talked to him, and to his credit, he did more than just listen. Within a week or two, things were done.”
“They came back to us, and we found a middle ground. We’re going as quickly as we can. It’s hard for us because of the way things are. If you are in India, and two spinners are going at it, we are never behind the over-rate. It was frustrating because we were getting outcomes. I think people in England were also angry about it. Wasim Khan actually listened to the players, got their opinions, and found a middle ground. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this happen at ICC, and I was there. Think it’s a big step in the right direction.”
Even though the ICC hasn’t said what the fines and points deductions will be for the early Ashes Tests, Australia could gain from the new rules because they bowled England out in their second innings at Edgbaston in just 80 overs.
Khawaja also said, “I’m still arguing that if you get a result in the game before tea on the last day, you shouldn’t have to pay a fine.” “You have what you asked for. It’s baseball. You’ve got laws and rules. They have been there for many years. Sometimes you just need to look at them again and see if they need a little updating.
“I think it’s great that the ICC listens to players. Wasim Khan talked to us about the stuff at the ICC and asked the players what they thought. I’ve never had that with the ICC before. No one has really brought it up. I thought I’d say something about it because I think it’s pretty cool.”