The contentious four-fielder restriction in ODI cricket attracted a number of detractors during its tenure, and especially so during this year’s World Cup Down Under, where the bat overwhelmingly dominated ball. And, after a two-day meeting in Mumbai, the ICC Cricket Committee, chaired by Anil Kumble, has recommended that it be altered to allow an extra fifth fielder outside the 30-yard circle at least in the last 10 overs of an ODI innings.
There has been a major outcry of late to go back to the original system, which had only four fielders within the 30-yard circle. A number of present and former captains have been at the forefront of it, insisting that the rule had distorted the balance of the ODI game. Even Kumar Sangakkara, who is the current player representative in the panel, is known to have been sceptical about the rule.
It is learnt that the committee reviewed the World Cup, which saw teams scoring huge totals consistently, before deciding upon their recommendation that will now be placed in front of the ICC Executive Committee and ICC Board during their meeting in Barbados next month.
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The panel, however, has endorsed the use of two new-balls in ODIs but has suggested that the balls should have more pronounced seams so as to provide some assistance to the seamers and spinners alike. The committee, which includes Ravi Shastri, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Mark Taylor and Darren Lehmann felt a pronounced seam would allow bowlers to grip the ball better.
Another reason that many experts have cited for the disparity in limited-overs cricket is the depth of the bats used these days. The committee noted that there was no uniformity, and that players were using bats with varying depths. The panel has asked the MCC, the law-makers of the game, to look into the matter but has insisted the bats be continued to be made of pure wood.
Reports of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne planning a bunch of exhibition T20 games with retired cricketers also came up for discussion. One member, who attended the meeting, confirmed that even such exhibition games would require the ICC’s blessing. He also added that if they were to be hosted in a Test-playing nation, the organizers would require an NOC (no objection certificate) from the respective national board.
* Panel has recommended that fielding restriction be altered to allow a fifth fielder outside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs.
* It has endorsed the use of two new-balls in ODIs but suggested the balls should have more pronounced seams to aid spinners and seamers alike.