Recap and Implications of International Cricket Council's Recommendations

Linus Fernandes@mktimeforsportsAnalyst IIMay 12, 2011

Clive Lloyd: chaired the meet.
Clive Lloyd: chaired the meet.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Cricket Ireland will welcome the recommendations made by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday, the 11th of May, 2011.

Associate teams will be allowed to participate in the 2015 World Cup through a qualifying process. The next World Cup will not default to Test-playing nations. Teams will have to earn the right to be in the elite group of participating nations.

Cricket fans will start to believe again that “yes, the administrators are playing cricket.”

The other momentous change is that the Decision Review System (DRS) will now be enforced for all Tests. No longer will bilateral agreements determine whether the review system is to be used. It is now mandatory.

The ruling is along expected lines; it is impossible to argue against numbers that show that use of the technological aid has raised correct decisions from 90 percent to 97 percent. In this case, statistics don’t lie.

What’s not so good is that the DRS is now reduced to just one incorrect call per inning. This is intended to make the side opting for a review think twice.

However, the use (or misuse) of the system depends a great deal on the player affected by the decision. For every Sachin Tendulkar who is conscious of his reputation and  consults his teammate before going to the third umpire, there is a Virender Sehwag who feels that it is his God-given right to be adjudged not out. This was a scenario that played out not once but twice in the One Day International (ODI) World Cup. So who makes the final call?

Will this force the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI)—the richest body in the ICC—to invest in Hot Spot? Sachin Tendulkar believes the DRS loses most of its effectiveness without the infra-red crutch.

Suggestions regarding enhancements to the ODI format include two balls to be used in each inning and that the batting and bowling power-plays are to be utilised between overs 16-40.

Does this imply that the umpires will now have extremely large pockets to store the extra ball between overs? Will they need some paraphernalia much like women players use in tennis to hold spare spheroids? Perhaps, a re-design of umpire uniforms is called for.

Cricket laws have been amended so that runners are not allowed in international cricket. This will prevent fielding of unfit players.

Why has the ICC overlooked the practice of shielding slow or poor fielders by replacing them with quicker, younger substitutes? The Indian cricket team honed this practice to an art during the 2011 World Cup; Suresh Raina probably spent as much time on the field as his counterparts, despite playing fewer games.

Batsmen blocking run-out attempts by blocking the fielder's view of the stumps are to be adjudged out—if the action is seen to be deliberate. Complications could arise from this rule change.

Batter and fielder both attempt to take the direct, quicker route. Is the modification suggesting that the batsman look over his shoulder to check if he’s obstructing a fielder? Helmets will have to come fitted with rear-view mirrors.

If a batsman attempts to gain ground before a bowler completes his normal delivery swing, he can be run out. This is fair. The practice of gaining a few extra yards leaves the fielding side at a disadvantage since the wicket to aim at is at the far end, specifically when the ball goes past the stumps. No bowler wishes to gift runs on good deliveries.

Concern over slow over-rates has led to the tightening of the noose around the offending team’s captain reducing the number of offences to two in each format of the game before the captain is forced to miss a game.

Other recommendations to be implemented on a trial basis include:

  • No restrictions on number of overs for bowlers in ODIs
  • No compulsory close-in fielders
  • A maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard fielding circle during non-power-play overs
  • Number of bouncers increased from one to two in an over

Finally, pink cricket balls will see the light of night if day-night Test cricket takes off. The pink ball will be used for the Associate’s four-day competition, the Intercontinental Cup.

Test cricket could follow tennis’ lead, with spectators sauntering in for the second-half of  the day’s play after work. The weather forecast “Dew is due”  could ruin the heady brew.

Quote of the day: 
Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first. – Peter Ustinov


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