New rules effective Thursday

Following the recommendations made at ICC’s annual meeting in May earlier this year, the world governing body today introduced a host of changes to the Laws of Cricket, to be effective in all series starting on Thursday or later.

The significant changes include restrictions on bat sizes, changes to the existing run-out rule, player send-offs in case of serious incidents of misconduct and modification of the Decision Review System.

In what has rapidly become a batsman-dominated game, the global cricket body, in its bid to strike a balance between the bat and ball, has limited the bat dimensions. With the new recommendations in place, the edge limit of a bat can be of maximum 40mm and bat depth 67mm (60mm for the depth plus an allowance of 7mm for a possible curve on the face of the bat).

A new first, as per the new playing conditions, is the introduction of the player send-off law. Applicable to the Level 4 offences, a player can be sent off the field for any serious misconduct. In cases of physical violence, that include threatening an umpire, physical assault of umpire, player or spectator or any other case of physical violence – all of which constitute the Level 4 offences – a player can be disallowed from taking part in the remainder of the match. This has been done to tighten the disciplinary standards in the lower-grades of cricket, and the members of the committee had insisted that while it happens regularly in the lower levels, such incidents rarely occur at the international level.

Changes to the run-out rules also come into effect from Thursday.

One major overhaul of the DRS will see the teams not losing a review in case the decision remains unchanged as a result of an ‘umpire’s call’. Also, the quota of reviews will not be refreshed after the 80-overs mark of a Test innings. The DRS is now set to be introduced to Twenty20 Internationals as well.

As per the new run-out rule, a player would be considered to have made his or her ground even if the bat bounces after being grounded behind the crease by a running or diving batter. This would mean that once a batter has landed the bat behind the crease, he/she will not be ruled run-out/stumped even if the bails are dislodged when the bat bounces later. It also applies for a batter trying to regain his/her ground to avoid being stumped.

As far as catches are concerned, airborne fielders need to start from within the boundary before coming in contact with the ball, failing which a boundary would be awarded to the batting side. Also, a batsman can be given out caught, stumped or run-out even if the ball bounces off the helmet worn by a fielder or a wicket-keeper.

The no-ball law stands tweaked as well. If the ball bounces more than once before reaching the popping crease, the umpires will now call it a no ball, formerly it applied to bouncing more than twice. Also if the ball lands off the pitch, it will be called a no-ball.

Earlier, byes or leg byes scored off a no-ball were scored as no balls only. However, as per the new law in place now, it will be termed as one no-ball with byes or leg byes being scored separately, meaning the bowler will be debited only one run.

While the ‘lost ball’ law has been included within the dead ball law, ‘handled the ball’ has been incorporated within the ‘obstructing the field’ rules.

Other notable changes include – six substitutes instead of four in Tests and a time allowance of three minutes for the new batsman to walk in after a dismissal. Tethered bails will also be used to prevent injuries. In T20s, even if the match is reduced to less than ten overs, the maximum quota of overs a bowler will be allowed to bowl is two.

The ICC’s general manager of cricket, Geoff Allardice, said: “Most of the changes to the ICC playing conditions are being made as a result of changes to the Laws of Cricket that have been announced by the MCC.

“We have just completed a workshop with the umpires to ensure they understand all of the changes and we are now ready to introduce the new playing conditions to international matches.”

Even as the new rules come into effect on September 28, the ongoing India vs Australia and England vs Windies ODI series that started before the rule modifications will not be affected. (Cricbuzz)

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