Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
A new cricket code of laws that will see bat sizes being reduced and umpires being empowered to send off players comes into effect on October 1, according to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
The MCC, which is based at Lord’s in London, has been the custodian of the laws of cricket since they were created in 1787, while the International Cricket Council is responsible for the administration of the sport.
According to a media release from the MCC, the maximum dimensions of a bat will be restricted to 108mm in width, 67mm in depth and with 40mm edges.
The rule change, decided after consultations with players, manufacturers and global governing bodies, is in response to growing concerns about the imbalance between bat and ball.
Bat sizes have grown pronouncedly in recent years, with thicker edges regularly sending mishit shots to the boundaries, much to the chagrin of bowlers.
“A bat gauge will ensure that the new limits are adhered to in the professional game, whilst a moratorium period, allowing players to use their existing bats, which may be in breach of the law, will be allowed in the amateur game. The length of the moratorium will be determined by local governing bodies and may vary for different levels of cricket,” reads the MCC release.
Umpires will be equipped with a number of sanctions to tackle poor player behaviour in the new code.
Severity of offences will range from Levels 1 to 4, with umpires administering the in-game punishment they deem appropriate for the offence.
Offences can range from showing dissent at an umpire’s decision to committing any act of violence, with sanctions including warnings, the award of five penalty runs to the opposition and, for more serious offences, temporary or permanent removal from the field.
A batter will no longer be deemed run out if he or she has touched down across the crease and the bails are dislodged while the bat bounces. Changes will also make it easier for a bowler to run out a batter at the non-striker’s end before the ball is bowled.