Ronnie O’Sullivan has proposed a shot-clock solution or incentivizing players to avoid negative snooker following the controversy in the World Championship semi-final between Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham.
Selby irritated Bingham with some slow play in the third session of their semi-final at the Crucible, which ended in a 17-15 win for Selby to take him through to Sunday and Monday’s final against Shaun Murphy.
At one point, Selby was reminded by the referee that he had taken over three minutes to assess his next shot and needed to take a stroke. After losing, Bingham described some of Selby’s play as “on the brink of gamesmanship”, as well as describing his reaction to a fluke as “out of order”.
Murphy looking forward after he 'fell out of love with snooker'
O’Sullivan was involved in his own spat with Selby in last year’s semi-finals when he responded to some negative play by Selby by smashing the balls, which Selby labelled “disrespectful”. And speaking on Eurosport’s coverage of the final, O’Sullivan proposed ways that snooker could counter slow play.
Selby can't believe his luck with 'spectacular' fluke against Bingham
“It’s difficult you know – he’s out there to do what he has to do and sometimes he feels like he has to take that time to win a match,” said O’Sullivan. “Some players want to play the game, free-flowing and that… I just think if you really want to do something about it, and it was a bit of an issue, I think in tennis they have a shot clock on the serve so if it goes over a certain time, they know that that time is there to get the shot done.
“And I think in golf they are on about maybe rewarding the most watchable, the people who bring excitement to the fans, so the fans can vote and they get paid a bit extra.
"So if you can incentivise the players to play in a different way, if that’s what the sport wants, then that could be a way around it in some way. So you can allow them to do what they want to do, whether you have the shot clock on there, or some sort of way.”
Bingham frustrated with Selby 'gamesmanship' in Crucible semi-final
Selby vs Murphy is sure to be a clash of styles and O’Sullivan says that the latter will have suffered for the crown if he is champion of the world come Monday night.
“If Murphy wins this tournament, he is going to be sitting here thinking, ‘I need a year off’, because that is what Selby is going to do to him!
“If Selby doesn’t win it, Murphy isn’t going to be sitting here going, ‘oh that was enjoyable’. He’s going to be sitting here going, ‘that was horrible’. And it will take him a while to feel normal again. That’s how bad he wants it.
“How do you take that out of someone? You are going to have to scrape him off and then pick him up. It’s going to be fun!”
You can watch every match of the World Snooker Championship live and ad-free on the Eurosport App and eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app now for iOS and Android.
Why Selby’s unapologetic pursuit of greatness gives snooker headache
World Seniors Championship
World Seniors Championship - White and Hendry among snooker legends eyeing glory