In Appendix E under this law, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the laws of cricket, instructed that the bat length “shall not be more than 38 in/96.5 cm”. The width “shall not exceed 4.25 in/10.8 cm”. There was no mention about the depth, edges and weight.
When Jayasuriya played
There was little emphasis on the depth and edges. They all played with good pieces of wood alright, but the sweet spot was smaller and middling the ball and timing it well had been essential to get full value of the shots.
As franchise-based T20 leagues became en vogue, power-hitters began to use bigger bats. David Warner, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and MS Dhoni commonly used bats with 45 mm or more edges, allowing top edges to go over the fence. The depth of Warner’s bat (Gray Nicolls Kaboom) in limited-overs cricket is usually 85 mm.
ICC shows concern
In February 2015, the ICC thought evaluating the dimensions of the modern bats, with its chief executive David Richardson expressing concern over the balance being shifted in favour of the batsmen. Ponting speaks up Last year, Ricky Ponting called for bat regulation. “The modern day bats and weight in particular; it’s just a completely different game,” he had said.
At the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting in Mumbai last year, the law-making body responded to growing concerns and took its first steps towards limiting bat dimensions. Then in March this year, they restricted the maximum dimensions to 108 mm in width, 67mm in depth with 40 mm edges. The ICC ratified it, saying the restrictions would come into effect from October 1 this year.
The Indian context
It will have negligible effect on Indian batsmen, as Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, Rahane and KL Rahul are using the bat within the stipulated dimensions. Only Dhoni exceeds the limits in T20s.