Suspend test skippers for slowing play | the islander

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DETERRENCE: Howard Kotton thinks slowdown rates could be avoided if offending captains were suspended. Australian Pat Cummins and England’s Joe Root are pictured during the first test. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

The scourge of low overshoot rates continues to plague Test cricket and the penalties for not meeting the required quota should be much more severe.

The International Cricket Council has a long standing rule that 90 overs must be played on each of the five days, but this is rarely achieved.

If the ICC is serious about improving the situation, offending captains should be suspended for one game for a first offense and more if it continues to happen.

It should be the responsibility of the umpires and match officials to ensure that play continues to take place.

This summer game was interrupted or delayed many times when little more than a light drizzle fell.

Referees often walk around the arena and talk to ground staff before deciding if play is possible.

While it is imperative that the conditions are safe for the batsmen and the fielding team, there should be more urgency from the umpires.

Spectators in stadiums and on television want to see play as soon as possible – not in 15 minutes or half an hour but immediately.

Referees are also responsible for deciding if the light is fit to play.

While many stadiums around the world have artificial lights, the red cricket ball is difficult to pick up in dark conditions and play can always be stopped in bad light.

This begs the question – why are the lights on anyway?

Three overs are lost on each innings break, but there are too many other overs in the game.

So much time is chewed up with the decision review system and player injuries.

Captains and bowlers may be too behind with their field placements and batsmen pursue too much “gardening” of the wicket or frequent mid-court talks.

In addition to the normal drinks at each session, batsmen often receive refreshments after requesting new batting gloves.

This summer, England players were fined for match fees and the team penalized five ICC World Test Championship points for a slow passing rate in the first Test at the Gabba.

At the end of a tense and thrilling fourth Test at SCG, only 384 overs had been won over the five days.

Even taking into account the persistent rain and three round changes, it was still well below the required target, despite trying to make up for lost time.

Just reward for Kokkinakis

Thanasi Kokkinakis’ breakthrough victory on the ATP Tour at the Adelaide International last Saturday was just the reward for his hard work in resurrecting his tennis career.

WORK HARD: Thanasi Kokkinakis pictured after his breakthrough win on the ATP Tour.  Photo: Peter Mundy/Speed ​​Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WORK HARD: Thanasi Kokkinakis pictured after his breakthrough win on the ATP Tour. Photo: Peter Mundy/Speed ​​Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kokkinakis endured a terrible run and deserved late good fortune, appropriately in his hometown.

He’s shown huge potential since turning professional in 2013, but numerous injury setbacks have kept him out.

Kokkinakis has worked hard with strength and conditioning coach Jona Segal over the past year and has become much fitter and stronger to help him better cope with the physical and mental demands of the game.

Prior to his triumph over Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech to win his first ATP Tour singles title, Kokkinakis had only reached one final – in 2017, when he lost to American Sam Querrey at the Open de Los Cabos in Mexico.

At the previous tournament in Adelaide this summer, the great South Australian reached the semi-finals before losing to Frenchman Gaël Monfils.

The biggest victory of his career came in the second round of the Miami Open in 2018 when he beat Roger Federer.

Kokkinakis became the lowest-ranked player to defeat a world No. 1 player in 15 years.

But soon after, in a first-round match in Monte Carlo, he suffered a hairline fracture in his kneecap after crashing into advertising padding.

Federer, who was quick to congratulate Kokkinakis on his win over Rinderknech, has taken a keen interest in the Australian’s career since that win in 2018 and wanted him to be his sparring partner.

Kokkinakis, 25, has the right mental attitude and work ethic to significantly improve his ATP rankings over the next few years – he just needs an injury-free run.

Take a bow, Sam

Sam Stosur’s massive contribution to tennis must be recognized as she makes her final appearance as a singles player at the Australian Open.

The Queenslander got a wild card for the tournament.

She will face American Robin Anderson in the first round of competition.

It equals Lleyton Hewitt’s record of 20 appearances by an Australian in their home Grand Slam.

Stosur, 37, has been a great ambassador for the sport and her country.

Without a doubt, her greatest achievement as a singles player dates back to 2011, when she defeated Serena Williams in the US Open final.

At the French Open, she reached the final in 2010 and was a semi-finalist on two other occasions.

But as a doubles player, Stosur enjoyed even greater success.

She is ranked fifteenth in the world and intends to continue playing in this format.

In total, Stosur has won 28 doubles titles, including four Grand Slam championships.

Their last Grand Slam victory dates back to last year’s US Open with China’s Zhang Shuai, with the pair also having success at Melbourne Park in 2019.

Stosur, who has also won three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, should be commended for her quiet involvement in the development of the game in Australia.

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