(By Chinmay Pagar)
Changes in the rules is nothing new for cricketers and cricket fans, but this time ICC has tweaked some rules and made some new ones which are definitely going to help in the fair game-play, maintain the balance between bat and ball and (maybe) bring back the era of Cricket when it was called the Gentleman’s game. The new rules will be in place for India’s last ODI vs Australia. The new playing conditions will now integrate with MCC Laws of Cricket (2017 Code), so that all the playing regulations will be captured in one document for each format.
Let’s take a look at the new rules so that we won’t be surprised when umpires send someone off in the next game. (Oops, spoiler!)
Changes in DRS rules:What was the one thing you hated about DRS? Losing a review if the on-field decision wasn’t changed in case of ‘Umpire’s call’. Exactly. It always felt like the review was just stolen away from a team due to the slightest of margin, but it won’t happen anymore. According to the new rule, team will not lose a review if the on-field decision is not reversed due to ‘Umpire’s call’. So no reviews will be wasted. That leads us to the next rule, i.e. the teams will have only 2 reviews in each innings of a test match. Until now, the review count was reset to two after every 80 overs in each innings but it won’t happen anymore and captains will be allowed to have only 2 unsuccessful reviews for each innings.
The DRS system will now also be available in T20I, with one unsuccessful review allowed per innings.
Thickness of the Bat: It is no secret that Cricket has become a batsman’s game and bowler’s nightmare nowadays. It is mostly due the small boundaries and those thick bat edges which can send a ball into crowd and bowler’s efforts get a six in return. But from now-on, the thickness of a bat’s edge cannot be more than 40mm and overall depth cannot exceed 67mm at any point. Umpires will also carry a gauge to check the thickness of a bat. That is a good decision by ICC to maintain the balance between bat and ball. (We really hope to see a rule for the size of ground as well, like football, decide a certain dimension people!)
Sending Off:Don’t get excited, umpires are not going to dramatically take out yellow or red cards from the pockets but they can send off a player in case of serious misbehaviour. The player can be sent off under Level 4 offence, which includes, threatening to assault an umpire, making an inappropriate physical contact with an umpire, physically assaulting a player. Level 1 to 3 offences will continue to be solved under ICC Code of Conduct. Although this rarely happens at International level, the rule is in place to avoid it at domestic level, where such situations have taken place before.
Run-out and catching rules:How unfortunate is it, if a batsman reaches the crease but his/her bat pops up after contact with the ground and fielding team dislodges the stumps at that exact moment? In the past, batsman was given out in such cases even after making it back to the crease, but that unfair factor has also been taken out now, once you have grounded your bat or any body part inside the crease, the run is completed and batsman will not be given out even if his bat or a body part is in air after that and the stumps are dislodged at the same time. The same goes for stumping as well.
There are new rules for catching as well. Any fielder catching the ball, must be grounded within the boundary (Of course), if not, his/her last contact with the ground must have been within the boundary. Let’s make it a little simple. Remember those super-man catches at the boundary line, and how players catch the ball, throw it in the air if they are going off balance behind the boundary line and come back and catch it again? Quite unbelievable! But sometimes, when players throw the ball back, they catch it in the air, which means their last ground contact was outside the boundary line. So from now onwards, the fielder will have to come back inside the boundary line and then catch it! Hush!
The catches bounced off the helmet of a wicketkeeper or any fielder will also be considered legal now and the batsman will be given out. Stumping or run-out off the helmet will also be given in the favour of fielding side.
Handling the ball will no more be a separate mode of dismissal as it will be merged under obstructing the field.
No balls:According to the new rule, if the ball bounces more than once before reaching the popping crease, it will be judged as a no ball. Earlier, two bounces were allowed. Also, the byes and leg-byes scored off a no-ball will be added to byes and leg-byes in scorecard, instead of no-ball.
Tethering Bails: This one is the best decision for the safety of a wicketkeeper. The bails will be now tethered to the stumps so that they won’t go very far after the contact, which will prevent injuries, especially to the wicketkeepers. (We are sorry Mark Boucher, we should have done it earlier!)
Cheers, to the fair and safe Cricket.