Umpires will have the authority to send players off for serious breaches of behaviour under updated laws of the game which will be used from October 1, 2017, MCC has confirmed. MCC has also laid out the restrictions on bat sizes and there will be an amendment to the run out law to protect a batsman whose bat has bounced in the air once they have crossed the popping crease.
The new laws follow the recommendations of the MCC Cricket Committee from their meeting in Mumbai last December. “We felt the time had come to introduce sanctions for poor player behaviour and research told us that a growing number of umpires at grass roots level were leaving the game because of it,” John Stephenson, the MCC’s head of cricket, said. “Hopefully these sanctions will give them more confidence to handle disciplinary issues efficiently, whilst providing a deterrent to the players.”
Regarding the size of the bat, an MCC statement said, “If the bat (held by the hand) or another part of the batsman’s person is grounded beyond the popping crease and this contact with the ground is subsequently lost when the wicket is put down, the batsman will be protected from being run out if he/she is running or diving and has continued forward momentum towards the stumps and beyond.”
Umpire sanctions under the new code
Level 1: Offences include excessive appealing and showing dissent at an umpire’s decision. Following an official warning, a second Level 1 offence will result in five penalty runs being awarded to the opposing team.
Level 2: Offences (including throwing the ball at a player or making deliberate physical contact with an opponent during play), will result in the immediate awarding of five penalty runs to the opposing team.
Level 3: Offences (including intimidating an umpire or threatening to assault another player, team official or spectator) will result in five penalty runs and a removal of the offending player from the field for a set number of overs, depending on the format of the match.
Level 4: Offences (threatening an umpire or committing any act of violence on the field of play), will result in five penalty runs and the removal of the offending player for the remainder of the match. If the player is batting at the time of the offence, he/she will be recorded as ‘retired out’.