London:The ICC's Cricket Committee has recommended that stricter penalties be imposed on teams and captains who fail to maintain stipulated over-rates, especially in Test matches.
In a two-day meeting at Lord's that concluded on Tuesday, the committee felt that harsher punishments be imposed for slow over-rates.
The committee feels "the current legislated requirement of 15 overs per hour was appropriate, achievable and realistic."
It recommended that "if teams and, in particular, captains, fell below these expected levels then stricter penalties should be enforced."
It recommended that the penalties should include stricter enforcement of the ICC Code of Conduct and the Laws of Cricket (42.9, Time-wasting by the fielding side and 42.10, Batsman wasting time) and a doubling of fines for a failure to maintain the required over-rates.
"It also recommended that if a captain led a team that received three over-rate fines in the same format of the game in any 12-month period then he should automatically face a suspension."
The committee felt that host boards also need to be more diligent in ensuring there are minimum delays. It said that there was an average delay of 14 minutes per Test caused by issues around sight-screens in the past six months.
The committee recommended that current over-rates be displayed on scoreboards to ensure both sides were aware of the situation at all times.
"The ICC Board gave the ICC Cricket Committee a clear mandate to explore ways in which over-rates, especially those in Test matches, can be maintained or improved," said ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat.
"This is essential to ensure the game continues to engage with spectators, viewers, listeners and commercial and broadcast partners. The committee has come up with recommendations designed to keep the game moving while also asking the host boards to take more responsibility for issues within their control," he added.
Among other recommendations, the committee supported the MCC's recent decision that there was no need to impose a limit on the weight and depth of bats.
It was agreed that any regulation would be tough to enforce. The committee also agreed with the MCC that the double-sided bat and the switch-hit should be considered legal.
The committee considered the possibility of day-night Test cricket.
"It agreed it was an opportunity to be explored providing several factors were addressed."
The committee felt there had to be successful trials of an appropriate colour ball for such matches. The red ball currently used for Tests would not be of use at night and there remains an issue concerning the lasting qualities of the white ball.
"Providing these factors could be satisfactorily addressed over the coming months then it was agreed the concept could be explored further. This could involve the committee receiving an update at the start of 2010 ahead of an update to the ICC Chief Executives' Committee and, if appropriate, a day/night Test could be trialled later that year."
Lorgat said the ICC was willing to consider any proposal, including day-night Tests, to make the longer version of the game more spectator friendly.
"The committee recognised the need to promote Test cricket and was happy for talks on this matter to advance. However, before it gave the concept the green light it agreed that several aspects needed to be firmed up first," he said.