ICC reveals playing conditions for Intercontinental Cup
Rod Lyall in Nairobi
In a splendid display of JIT (Just-In-Time) Management, the ICC this week released the playing conditions for the new-look Intercontinental Cup, a couple of days before the beginning of the group stages.
With tournament matches extended to four days instead of three and the groups given a genuinely global scope, some revision of the rules was inevitable. Furthermore, there had been widespread criticism of the bonus points system that operated during the Cup's first two years.
But by the time the necessarily complicated consultative process had been completed and the conditions finalised, there were less than 48 hours before the opening group match between Kenya and The Netherlands. And it was only on Tuesday afternoon that the Dutch squad was officially informed.
The bonus points system has, happily, gone: there will now be 6 points for a first-innings lead, with a further 14 for an outright win. That means a maximum of 20, but a side could concede a first-innings lead and still gain 14 points by winning outright (or 7 in the event of a tie, in which case the side leading on the first innings would take 13). A tie on the first innings would mean that those points would be shared, 3 apiece.
Should eight hours or more be lost to the weather, each side would take 3 points for a draw, together with anything earned on the first innings; no points will be awarded for a draw where less than eight hours are lost. An abandoned match gives each side 10 points.
Gone, too, is the compulsory declaration in the first innings: there is now no restriction on how long the side batting first continues.
The over rate has been set at 16 per hour, with the possibility of an extra half hour's play should the daily target of 96 overs not have been reached by the normal time for close of play. There can also be an extra half-hour in the evening and/or morning where time is lost to weather or light.
All in all, the conditions now look a lot more like those for Test cricket. And the comparative simplicity of the points system will be widely welcomed.