Guardians of cricket set new reg­u­la­tions on bats, be­hav­iour

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: The so-called Guardians of Cricket have set­tled on a new code of laws that will limit the thick­ness of bats and pro­vide penalty runs for bad be­hav­iour, with the changes set to be in­tro­duced Oct 1.

Af­ter lengthy de­bate over the in­creas­ing dom­i­nance of bat over ball, the Maryle­bone Cricket Club on Mon­day re­leased reg­u­la­tions on the width and thick­ness of the bats.

The changes will start at the pro­fes­sional level and be phased into am­a­teur cricket.

It means the likes of Aus­tralian open­ing bats­man David Warner will have to rely on a bat with a sig­nif­i­cantly thin­ner spine than he has been us­ing in re­cent sea­sons.

The size of bats has be­come more of an is­sue since the ad­vent of Twenty20 cricket, where bat­ters at­tack the ball from the first over of the game.

The max­i­mum di­men­sions of a cricket bat will be set at 108 mil­lime­tres for width, 67 mil­lime­tres in depth and 40 mil­lime­tres for the edges.

A bat gauge will be used to en­sure that the new lim­its are ad­hered to in the pro­fes­sional game.

Um­pires al­ready have small gauges to test the shape of the ball, which must be a cer­tain weight.

The new edi­tion of the Code of Laws, the first since 2000, will be for­mally re­leased on March 20.

John Stephen­son, the MCC’s head of cricket, said the game had evolved sig­nif­i­cantly over the last 14 years and it was time to re­write some laws rather than keep mak­ing amend­ments.

“We felt the time was right for a new code to tidy up many of the piece­meal changes made since 2000,” Stephen­son said.

“The bat size is­sue has been heav­ily scru­ti­nised and dis­cussed.

“We be­lieve the max­i­mum di­men­sions we have set will help re­dress the bal­ance be­tween bat and ball, while still al­low­ing the ex­plo­sive, big hit­ting we all en­joy.”

The MCC, based at Lord’s in Lon­don, are re­spon­si­ble for the laws of the game, while the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil are re­spon­si­ble for the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the sport.

Other law changes in­volved the han­dling of run outs and gave um­pires more dis­cre­tion to pe­nalise play­ers for poor on­field be­hav­iour, in­clud­ing ex­ces­sive ap­peal­ing, mak­ing con­tact with play­ers or of­fi­cials or in­tim­i­da­tion.

A bat­ter will no longer be deemed run out if he or she has touched down across the crease and the bails are dis­lodged while the bat bounces.

Changes will also make it eas­ier for a bowler to run out a bat­ter at the non­striker’s end be­fore the ball is bowled.

Um­pires will be in­creased power to sanc­tions play­ers im­me­di­ately de­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the bad be­hav­iour, with lev­els of pun­ish­ments rang­ing from a warn­ing, to the award­ing of five penalty runs to the op­pos­ing team or tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent re­moval of a player from the game.

“We felt the time had come to in­tro­duce sanc­tions for poor player be­hav­iour,” Stephen­son said. “Re­search told us that a grow­ing num­ber of um­pires at grass­roots level were leav­ing the game be­cause of it.

“Hope­fully th­ese sanc­tions will give them more con­fi­dence to han­dle dis­ci­plinary is­sues efficiently, whilst pro­vid­ing a de­ter­rent to the play­ers.”

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