THE International Cricket Council (ICC) looks set to make a string of changes to the rules of the 50-overs game to redress the balance between bat and ball in favour of the fielding team.
After a World Cup of record scores by individuals and teams earlier this year, the ICC’s Cricket Committee has recommended the batting powerplay be removed and two other tweaks to rules which currently restrict the fielding team.
Under the recommendations, fielding teams would no longer have an obligation to have two stationary fielders in catching positions in the first 10 overs of an innings.
The committee, chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble, also recommended the fielding captain be able to place five fielders outside the 27-metre circle rather than the existing four for the last 10 overs of the innings.
“The committee [acknowledged] the attractive and attacking brand of cricket that was played during the tournament,” said an ICC statement. “It also felt that there were times towards the end of an ODI innings that bowlers and fielding captains appeared to have limited defensive options available to them.
“The committee was very encouraged by some of the attacking captaincy displayed during the World Cup, and believes these changes will allow fielding captains greater freedom to both attack and defend when required.”
Batsmen like South Africa’s AB de Villiers and Australia’s Glenn Maxwell lit up the World Cup with an incredible rate of scoring. The batting powerplay, which allowed the fielding team to have only three players outside the 27-metre circle for five overs, only contributed to the inflated scoring.
The statement said the ICC would not impose a limit on the size of bats but would reiterate that boundaries must be set at the maximum size at international venues.
Among other recommendations were that all no-balls in limited overs cricket be followed by a free hit for the batsman, rather than, as now, just for no-balls where the bowler has overstepped the mark. The committee also urged match referees to consider suspensions rather than fines for bowlers who repeatedly abused dismissed batsmen with a “send-off”, or for physical contact between opposing players.
The recommendations will be considered by the ICC board during its annual conference in Barbados in June. — Reuters