MCC to decide on new rules like free-hit on no balls in Tests, countdown clock and use of a standard ball

The focus is on reducing the phenomenon of slow over rates.

A standard ball will be finalized for the ICC Test Championship

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) cricket committee will be meeting to discuss and finalize on proposals. The committee is headed by former England captain Mike Gatting and features the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Shakib Al Hasan, Kumar Sangakkara, Shane Warne, Vincent Van der Bijl, and Tim May among others.

Some of the proposals include a hot clock to prevent time wasting, standard ball for the inaugural World Test Championship and free hit for a no ball. MCC Committee has identified slow over rate driving away fans and making the Test cricket boring and hence the introduction of a clock.

"When asked what the main barriers were for attending Test Cricket, 25 percent of fans from England, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa mentioned slow over rates. In those countries, where spinners bowl fewer overs, the full 90 overs are sometimes not bowled in a day, even with the extra 30 minutes," said the MCC.

The Committee's specific recommendations include:

1) A timer, to be shown on the scoreboard, to count down from 45 seconds from the call of "Over". (This would be increased to 60 seconds for a new batsman on strike and 80 seconds for a change of bowler). If either side is not ready to play when the clock reaches zero, they would receive a warning, with further infringements in that innings resulting in five Penalty runs being awarded to the opposition.

2) A similar timer to be used at the fall of wickets, potentially with variable times, depending on the distance from the dressing rooms to the pitch, and at drinks breaks. Batsmen and fielders should be in position before the clock reaches zero.

3) During DRS reviews, the standard protocol should be cut short as soon as the TV production team is aware that it will be Not out. For example, time is often spent trying to discern an inside edge for LBWs, only to see, for example, that the ball was missing the stumps. As soon as the ball-tracking has been loaded, if it will result in a Not out decision, the TV umpire should be informed immediately.

Another big point of discussion is the use of a standard ball in the upcoming ICC Test championship matches. At the moment, SG ball is used in India, Dukes in England and West Indies, and Kookaburra in other countries including Australia and South Africa.

However, players like R Ashwin and Indian captain Virat Kohli have shown an affinity towards using the red Dukes ball.

The Committee also suggested that free hits be introduced after no balls in Test matches. "The system is used in the white-ball formats and the added deterrent results in there being fewer No balls than in Tests. For example, England recently had a spell of 45 ODIs without bowling a No ball, yet they bowled eleven in the three-Test series against the West Indies,” the committee said.

(with PTI inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 13 Mar, 2019

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