ICC’s annual meeting held in May had thrown up some recommendations that were to take effect sometime later this year. Now, the world’s governing body has introduced a host of changes effective September 28, which means that the series starting on the date or after, will be played according to the new rules. These include restrictions in the bat size, the run-out rule, player send-offs and a certain tweak in the highly-dramatic Decision Review System (DRS).
Cricket is now increasingly becoming a batsman-dominated game, and the world’s leading cricketing body is aiming hard to strike a balance between the bat and the ball, and thereby make it fair and square. The bat dimensions have been put into place now, with the outer edge of the bat being allowed at a maximum of 40mm and a total depth of 67mm (includes the possible curve on the face of the bat).
Another interesting rule that has been recommended in that of a player send-off. A Level 4 offence allows the player to be sent off for a serious conduct or a case of physical violence, which may include threatening or assaulting an umpire or a fellow player. Though such incidents happen frequently at the lower levels, they rarely take place in the international circuit.
DRS has often been accepted and criticized from time to time. With the new rules being implemented, a team would not lose their review if the result is an “umpire’s call”, which is not the scenario currently. Also, the quota of two reviews shall be refreshed at the 80-over mark of the Test innings. DRS is all set to debut in T20 Internationals as well.
The run-out rule has also been tweaked, with the player believed to have made his ground even if the bat bounces behind the crease while putting in the dive and the bails have been dislodged. This works the same way in case of a stumping.
In context to the catches being concerned, the fielders are supposed to start from the boundary before making a direct contact with the ball, else the batting side would gain the runs. A batsman can also be given out caught, run-out or stumped if the ball happens to bounce off the helmet worn by a fielder or a wicket-keeper.
The no-ball law also has a minor twist to it with the ball being deemed as a no-ball if it happens to bounce more than once before reaching the popping crease. Initially, two bounces were allowed before it being called a no-ball. The ball landing off the pitch shall also be declared a no-ball.