ICC to try out new rules on an experimental basis

Published: Sunday, June 26, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Leeds:The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced it would be introducing major rule changes into One-day International matches on a 10-month trial basis starting on July 30.

The major alterations, which were approved on Saturday at a meeting of the global governing body's chief executives' committee (CEC) at the ICC's headquarters at London's Lord's Cricket Ground, involve an extension of the current 15 overs fielding restrictions and the introduction of replacement players.

Under the new rules there will be an increase from 15 to 20 overs of restrictions where teams are only allowed two players outside the 30-yard 'circle'.

Unlike the present system, where the fielding restrictions are only in place for the first 15 overs, the new set-up means they will apply for the first 10 overs of every innings plus two additional blocks of five overs which must be selected by the fielding captain.

The CEC decided that the additional 'close-catcher' field restrictions, where two stationary players must be within the 15-yard 'inner circle', should only apply for the first 10 overs.

The CEC also approved the introduction of soccer-style replacements which will permit sides to replace a player at any stage of a match.

The replaced player will be ruled out of the rest of the match while the replacement will be entitled to assume any remaining batting or bowling duties. Both players will receive a cap.

Currently substitutes in all forms of cricket are generally only permitted to field.

These two innovations may be trialled during the NatWest Challenge between England and Australia starting on July 7 at Headingley.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) will both need to give their consent before the new rules can be introduced in the three-game series.

The changes will be be reviewed by the ICC's cricket committee, chaired by former Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar - which made the initial recommendations at its 2005 meeting.

As well as the One-day changes, a proposal to undertake a technology trial during the Super Series in Australia in October was also approved.

This will allow on-field umpires to consult with the TV umpire on any aspect of any decision with the final decision remaining with the on-field umpire.

The only exceptions to this will be line decisions, which will be dealt with by the TV umpire in the same manner as at present, and clean catches, where the existing process will also be retained.

Meanwhile the ICC also announced the establishment of an expert panel to work with the game's law makers, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and manufacturers to review the rules governing cricket bats.

Concerns have been expressed that some leading players' bats exceed the permitted width of four-and-a-quarter inches and that, following a banned practice in baseball, some bats have been injected with cork in a bid to increase their power.

Law Six, the rule relating to bats, currently states that "the blade of the bat shall be made solely of wood."

In particular, the CEC considered the specific case of the controversial Kookaburra bat used by several international players, including Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

These have a thin film of graphite running down the back in a bid to strengthen the blade.

The CEC did not make a definitive judgement but agreed that the bats should be allowed pending a final decision from MCC on their legality in relation to current regulations.

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