In the aftermath of the run-fest that was witnessed at the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the ICC cricket committee has decided to restore the balance between bat and ball in ODI cricket. The Anil Kumble-led committee have recommended three major changes to the present playing conditions that are sure to have a significant impact in that regard.
They have called for the batting powerplay that is on offer for teams between the 10th and 40th over to be done away with. They have also suggested that the contentious four-fielder restriction be tweaked significantly by allowing five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs of an innings. The age-old rule of compulsorily having two catchers in the opening 10 overs can be removed, the committee suggested.
“This means that for the first 10 overs there will be two fielders outside the circle, for the next 30 overs there will be four fielders out and for the last 10 overs there will be five outside the circle. 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,” the ICC press release said.
The committee, which also includes the likes of Ravi Shastri, Mark Taylor and Darren Lehmann, reviewed the ODI playing conditions on the back of the World Cup, where they felt that captains were left with ‘limited defensive options’ during the death overs of an innings. Their recommendations will now be placed in front of the ICC Chief Executives Committee and the ICC Board when they meet in Barbados next month.
Following on with the discussion over the balance between bat and ball, the committee has refrained from introducing a regulation for over size of bats, but has insisted that boundaries at all international venues need to be pushed back to their maximum size. Maybe the recent increase in the number of sixes hit had something to do with the second suggestion.
Proposed changes to ODI playing conditions
More free hits
“The ICC will consult with ball manufacturers to see whether the characteristics of the ball, particularly the size and durability of the white-ball seam, could be altered to shift the balance between bat and ball,” the release said. Ironically, however, the committee has also suggested that batsmen be awarded free-hits for all types of no-balls-including the ones given for height-and not be restricted for when the bowler’s foot crosses the popping crease.
The cricket committee, meanwhile, has also recommended that Test-playing nations consider playing the five-day format under lights in the evenings to enhance the ‘public appeal of cricket’s oldest format’. Other proposals include an investigation into finding out ways to adjudge no-balls at the fall of the wicket to avoid delays like have been seen in modern-day cricket. They also took umbrage over the increasing number of inappropriate send-offs and agreed on testing the performance of the various technologies used for DRS independently.