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Law 10.1(e) specifies that the time required for completion of permitted rolling is to be taken out of playing time, if some circumstance prevents the completion before the time scheduled for the next session to start. If, however, the captain does not request the rolling until a good portion of the available time has expired, should the umpires take action - refuse the rolling perhaps?
The umpires (together) should seek the cause of such delay. Law 10.1(e) gives the batting captain the right to have the pitch rolled, even if this means losing playing time, if he is prevented from having it within the allotted time. This is not to be taken as extending to cases where the delay is not caused by the prevailing circumstances. If the delay was due to the groundsman not being available, or the roller not starting, he would have been prevented from having the rolling within the correct time. The same is true if there is a late declaration or forfeiture during an interval. However, once a captain knows that he has the opportunity to request rolling, there should not be, without good reason, a significant delay before he makes the request. Merely to delay the request without some special justifying circumstance cannot be construed as ‘being prevented’. It looks like a ploy to shorten the time his opponents have to bowl at his side. However, it would be impossible to lay down in Law what should be considered ‘significant delay’. It has to be the judgment of the umpires together, having discovered as best they can whether there is any satisfactory reason for the delay.
As to the action to be taken, the umpires have no authority to forbid such rolling. The rolling would have to be allowed, since there is nothing in Law permitting them to withhold it. On the other hand, if the umpires felt - as indeed they might - that the delay in making the request amounted to sharp practice, if not downright cheating, then they should together tell the captain that they considered the action unfair and they would accordingly report the matter under Law 42.18.
Law 10.2 prescribes sweeping if rolling is to take place. What is the position about sweeping if there is to be no rolling?
The umpires shall not allow sweeping in those areas where they consider it may be detrimental to the surface of the pitch.
It is laid down that the pitch is to be cleared of débris at intervals for meals, between innings and before each day’s play. The method of clearing débris is not specified and, if it will not be detrimental to the surface, could be sweeping but need not be.
Rolling is permitted only between innings and before each day’s play, except the first day. If rolling is to take place at one of these times, the pitch is to be swept first except in those areas where the umpires consider sweeping may be detrimental to the surface. Even in those areas, débris shall be removed, but not by sweeping. In addition, the pitch is to be cleared of débris when no rolling can take place, at intervals for meals and before the first innings, and also at times when rolling is not to take place, even though permitted.
Time limits are set to prevent the pitch being swept before it is mown. However, any débris that might cause damage to machinery may be picked up prior to mowing.
[Law reference: 10.2]