ICC changes ODI powerplay, fielding, free hit rules to help bowlers

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 27, 2015 12:43 IST

The International Cricket Council (ICC) scrapped batting powerplays and relaxed field restrictions in the one-day international format on Friday in order to give a chance to bowlers in a format where batsmen have reigned supreme in recent times, most notably at the World Cup earlier this year.

At its annual conference in Barbados, the ICC ratified a number of proposed changes to the 50-over format, which will come into effect from July 5.

Among them, the requirement to post catching fielders within the 30-yard circle in the first 10 overs has been dropped and five fielders will be allowed outside of it in the last 10 overs, rather than the previous maximum of four.

"We have thoroughly reviewed the ODI format after a very successful ICC Cricket World Cup," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement.

"There was no need to make any radical changes to what has proved to be a vibrant and popular format but we wanted to take this opportunity to make the format simpler and easier to follow for the public as well as maintaining a balance between bat and ball.

“In making these adjustments, we have tried to ensure that ODI cricket retains the attacking, aggressive and thrilling brand, which has recently become the hallmark of 50-over cricket and sets us on a positive path to the next World Cup in England in 2019.”

In another notable change, all no-balls by bowlers will hand a free hit to batters, as opposed to just foot-faults.

Though Australia paceman Mitchell Starc was named the best player of the World Cup, batsmen reigned supreme in most matches where innings scores regularly breached 350 runs and occasionally surpassed 400.

The ICC are looking at the size and build of bats which have sometimes compounded bowlers' misery by sending mis-hits sailing over boundary ropes for six.

Richardson also said the ICC might "tamper" with the seam on balls to see if bowlers could garner any additional aid.
"There is a view if we sanction or look at some change to the thickness or the depth of seam it might actually be what we are looking forward to give the seam bowlers a little bit more help, also aid swing and to enable the spinners to get more grip and to spin the ball more if we tamper with the seam," Richardson said in comments posted on espncricinfo.com.

The conference in Barbados was held under the chairmanship of N Srinivasan.

The ICC Board also reviewed and adopted the recommendations of an Integrity Working Party which had been convened to review the global risks for international and domestic cricket created by the threat of corruption.

This decision will see a greater role for a central Anti-Corruption Unit and paves the way for greater coordination of preventative and investigative activity around the world with a unified vision to ‘keep cricket clean’.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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