Mumbai,Derek Abraham: As reported by dna on May 18, the Cricket Committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended that the fielding captain be allowed the cushion of a fifth fielder outside the 30-yard circle for the last 10 overs of an ODI. The Anil Kumble-chaired panel, which met in Mumbai on May 16 and 17, has also suggested that the batting powerplay, usually taken between Overs 35 and 40, be done away it. Both decisions reflect the committee's desire to ensure balance between bat and ball.
For the record, these recommendations have to be approved by the ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) that will meet in Barbados during the ICC's Annual Conference from June 22-26.
The ICC will not introduce a regulation about the size of bats, but will provide inputs on this issue to the Marylebone Cricket Club, custodians of the Laws of Cricket. The world body 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. This paper had reported the possibility of the white ball having a "pronounced" seam helpful to both pacers and spinners alike. The Cricket Committee also reiterated that boundaries at international venues needed to be set up to the maximum size at each venue.
Another prominent recommendation is the removal of two compulsory catchers in the first 10 overs of an ODI. The committee was encouraged by the attacking captaincy displayed during the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and believes these changes will allow fielding captains greater freedom to both attack and defend when required.
There's some good news for the batsmen, too. The Cricket Committee has suggested that all no-balls in ODI and T20 International cricket result in a free hit. In other words, bowlers will be penalised for bowling beamers and captains will pay the price for not getting the field setting right. As always, front-foot no-balls will result in free hits.
The Cricket Committee discussed day/night Test matches at length. Reviewing the reports from the first-class matches played with pink balls, it asked Test-playing nations to identify opportunities and make provisions for play to extend later into the day. The idea of four-day Tests was rejected, but the panel acknowledged that the game will need to be open to considering proposals that look to enhance the public appeal of cricket's oldest format.
The committee supported the stronger stance being taken against inappropriate player behaviour and crass "send-offs". It also encouraged referees to apply suspensions rather than fines, more specifically for repeat offenders and for the more serious offences, such as physical contact. There was also strong support for the current practice of suspending captains for over-rate breaches.
There was a discussion on the performance of the Decision Review System (DRS). As reported earlier, the ICC has engaged engineers from the Field Intelligence Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston to oversee the testing of the ball-tracking system, HotSpot and Snicko.
The panel praised the ICC's anti-chucking drive. The five accredited testing centres saw over 100 bowlers tested in nine months.
IN A NUTSHELL
Five fielders outside the circle for last 10 overs of an ODI
No need to have two compulsory catchers in the first 10 overs of an ODI
Scrap batting powerplay
Free hits for all no-balls, including beamers
Maximise boundary line at all venues
DRS review at MIT Boston
No four-day Tests