WITH the Bolton Cricket League playing to a time limit, it is very important time is not wasted deliberately to try and force over penalties on a side.

In first-team cricket our rules state the 50th over must have commenced within three hours and five minutes.

That’s at a rate of three-and-a-half minutes per over with an extra 10 minutes for drinks etc.

Failing to adhere to this means the side batting second can only bat for the number of overs they bowled within that time.

If the side bowling second fails to bowl their overs in time then the batting side is awarded six runs at the start of every over not completed.

The umpire has to oversee the teams play fairly, especially in the second innings where time-wasting by the batting side could be a major factor to try and get the extra runs.

The general rule is that batsmen should be ready to face the next ball by the time the bowler is about to start his run up.

Under normal circumstances no batsmen should be permitted to delay the game.

They can look round to see where the fielders are, or check their guard or quickly prod down a spot on the pitch but should be ready when the bowler is.

A change of gloves, or bat or call for an extra drink is permitted but then the umpires have to decide if these are really necessary or just delaying tactics.

Normally these things are done at the end of an over where no time is lost.

Sometimes there is a brief spell between overs for a quick chat or when a boundary has been scored but the umpires will keep a check on things.

But what happens if the umpires think it is time-wasting?

Well, at the first instance, either before the bowler starts his run up or when the ball becomes dead, the umpire will issue a first and final warning to both batsmen.

As this warning applies throughout the innings, each batsman will be informed as he comes to the crease.

The other umpire will be informed as will the fielding captain and the batting captain as soon as practicable.

If there is any further time-wasting by any batsman during the innings then the umpire at the appropriate time, while the ball is dead, will issue five penalty runs to the fielding side. The other umpire will be informed, as will both captains, and a report will be sent to the league.