Cricket’s law-makers have had a busy week. After deciding (rightly in my opinion) not to outlaw the reverse sweep earlier in the week, they rapidly agreed to change the interval rules for One Day Internationals in the wake of the fiasco in the 2nd ODI between England and New Zealand.
New Zealand themselves may feel robbed by the 19th over abandonment (20 are needed to make a match in an ODI), but they would have needed 7 runs off that 20th over without the loss of a wicket – not easy in the pouring rain, so really it was still anybody’s match. The fact that they were playing the final overs in almost blackness and in that rain is the issue here. The rules at the time state that the innings-interval should be 30 minutes, even in a rain-shortened match (the teams had already had lunch long before play began). This interval actually occupied the best weather and light of the match, and with a forecast of worsening weather would have been very frustrating.
At least the laws have now been changed so that umpires and captains can agree to shorten the interval (to last between 10 and 30 minutes) if they so wish, with the ICC match referee being the final arbiter in case of a disagreement. This is in the best interests of cricket (like allowing the reverse sweep). Well done to the lawmakers – twice in a week!