Bats have been getting bigger and bigger and it’s ridiculous how unfair being a bowler can be in the modern game. I’m therefore pleased that new laws have been approved this week which should even up the contest between bat and ball.
The game’s lawmakers, the MCC, have disclosed a series of measures that are set to come into effect from 1 October and cover a number of areas, one of which focuses on a size limitation to the edge and depth of a bat.
For a while now it has very much been a batsman’s world, especially in one-day cricket. Bats have gone to another level in recent years – Australian David Warner’s being a case in point.
Factor in field restrictions, two new balls, the balls being hard the whole time and not swinging, then there is not much at all in the bowler’s favour.
Scores in one-day cricket these days can border on absurd and I do feel sorry for some of the bowlers when I see them running up. If a limit wasn’t put on bat sizes, where would it end?
It has been something which has been spoken about for some time and it’s entirely sensible that the MCC have moved to place a limit on bat sizes so that bowler versus batsman battle is made a bit fairer.
Under the new rules, players also run the risk of being sent from the field of play for bad behaviour or misconduct and I’m also in favour of this. Such measures exist in other sports, so why not cricket?
Offences will be measured across four levels; the lowest being for indiscretions such as excessive appealing or showing dissent at an umpire’s decision and the gravest being the threatening of an umpire or any act of violence.
Lower level transgressions would result in an official warning and a repeat offence the concession of five penalty runs, while the more heinous acts of misconduct would see a player removed from the field for the remainder of the match. I can’t actually foresee a player ever being sent off, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth introducing.
I don’t think there is any problem with aggression in the game. If anything, aggression and sledging has declined over the years as measures to curb indiscipline have been introduced.
I’m still very much on board with players being combative – it has always been part of the game – but it’s more about them not overstepping the mark.
When you’re playing at the top level and your career is effectively at stake, it’s only natural to boil over at times. Players are bound to get frustrated with each other, with opposition and with umpires.
Spirit of cricket
But sometimes player reactions are not within the spirit of the game.
Only a few days ago, India skipper Virat Kohli was incensed at Australia counterpart Steve Smith after he appeared to seek guidance from his dressing room as to whether to review an LBW decision.
Smith cited “brain fade” but his actions were not really in the spirit of the game and players’ behaviour should be monitored to ensure they are conducting themselves in the right way, setting the right example and showcasing the all-important spirit of cricket.