India docked two WTC points for slow over rate, slip to fourth place behind Pakistan

Jasprit Bumrah discusses his plans with Rahul Dravid Getty Images

India have been docked two World Test Championship (WTC) points for maintaining a slow over rate in the Edgbaston Test, which they lost by seven wickets to England for the series to end at 2-2. As a result of the penalty, India currently have 52.08 percentage points, a shade lower than Pakistan's 52.38, and are down to No. 4 on the WTC table, below Australia, South Africa and Pakistan.

The members of India's playing XI in the Edgbaston Test, the fifth of the series that began last year but had to be completed now because of a Covid-19 scare in the Indian camp at the time, have also been fined 40% of their match fees.

This is the second time India have been penalised for the same offence in the England series, and third time overall, in the current WTC cycle. They lost two points in the series opener in Nottingham - a Test that was drawn after a final-day washout - and another point in Centurion on their tour of South Africa in January. Their tally of deducted points in the current cycle stands at five.

The development could have a significant bearing on India's chances of making the WTC final. In the previous cycle, Australia narrowly missed out on making the title round after being docked four points in the Boxing Day Test against India. With their away tour of South Africa cancelled because of Covid-19, Australia fell below New Zealand, who beat India in the final.

According to the ICC guidelines, players are fined 20% of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl within the allotted time after time allowances are taken into consideration. In addition, the WTC playing conditions say, a side is penalised one point for each over they fail to bowl within the stipulated time. Since India fell short by two overs at Edgbaston, they lost two points.

India have six more Tests to try and improve their position - four against Australia at home and two in Bangladesh. The loss to England in the fifth Test means India can now at best get to 69.98 percentage points, if they win each of their remaining matches.

Australia are current toppers with 77.78 percentage points. They have seven more Tests left in the current cycle, one in Sri Lanka in the ongoing tour, three at home against South Africa, and the four against India early next year.