Amid all the doubts amongst cricket fans regarding the follow-on rule for the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has cleared the confusion.
The international apex body has clarified that there will be no change in the follow-on rule if the play is washed out on Day 1 of the summit clash. The misunderstanding was created after an extra day was added to make up for any lost time during the regular days of the match.
In usual conditions, the margin of lead needed to enforce a follow-on is reduced from 200 to 150 runs if the opening day’s play is washed out. However, as per a report in Cricbuzz, with a reserve day available in the WTC final, this rule shall not come into play.
The ICC playing conditions (clause 14) states: “14.1.1: The side which bats first and leads by at least 200 runs shall have the option of requiring the other side to follow their innings. 14.1.2 The same option shall be available in matches of shorter duration with the minimum leads as follows: – 150 runs in a match of 3 or 4 days; – 100 runs in a 2-day match; – 75 runs in a 1-day match.”
But when it comes to WTC, a lead of 200 runs to enforce a follow-on will apply even if the first day’s play is washed out. This shall happen because there is a reserve day, and hence even after the first day gets washed out, the contest will still remain a five-day affair. However, if the second day’s play is also washed out, then the follow-on rule will then change, and the lead shall be reduced to 150 runs.
“Clause 14.3 has been amended so that the first innings lead of at least 200 runs will only change to 150 runs if no play takes place on the first and second scheduled days of the match. Normally this will occur if only the first day’s play is lost, but with the provision of a reserve day, it remains a 5-day match even if the first day is lost.”