Cricketing authorities are set to clamp down on the dominance of batsmen over bowlers by limiting bat sizes for the first ever time.
A raft of changes is set to be introduced next year following the MCC World Cricket committee meeting in Mumbai over the last two days.
The committee concluded "the balance of the game has tilted too far in the batsman's favour" adding that it wanted to "draw a line in the sand and target mis-hits that are clearing the boundary ropes for six".
The main Committee of MCC will meet to rubber-stamp the proposals in February 2017 and it is expected to approve a limit to bat edges of 40mm and bat depths of 67mm – 60mm for the depth plus an allowance of 7mm for a possible curve on the face of the bat.
The changes will be implemented into the new code of the laws of cricket and will be introduced on 1 October 2017.
Send 'em orff and on me 'ed son
Also recommended by the committee is a change to the rules to give umpires the power to send players off from the field of player for specific offences.
It was highlighted by the committee: "The decline in behaviour in the recreational game is having an adverse effect on the availability and willingness of people wanting to stand as umpires." It added the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials felt there was "real problem" and academic research suggested 40 per cent of umpires said abuse received had made them question whether or not to give up on the game.
Sending-off offences considered included:
- Threatening an umpire
- Physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator
- Any other act of violence on the field of play
The committee also recommended a shake-up so a catch can be taken after the ball has struck a fielder’s worn helmet.
It said it was "unfair" that a catch could be taken after hitting the pads of a wicketkeeper but not after hitting the helmet of a fielder. "It is felt that balls rebounding off a fielder’s helmet could equally help or hinder the fielding side and so the suggestion that rebounds off the helmet make catches easier should be disregarded," the committee concluded.
This change for the caught law would include a ball becoming lodged or trapped in the grille of a fielder’s helmet, in the same way as it is caught if it gets trapped between the wicket-keeper’s pads or in a fielder’s sweater or pocket.
Other items discussed included:
- Ball tampering laws – despite the recent case involving Faf Du Plessis sucking a sweet shining the ball, laws will not be changed to be made more prescriptive
- Four-day Test Matches – the pro's and con's were discussed. The committee was split on whether these should be introduced
- Olympic Games involvement – the committee wanted the International Cricket Council to consider a World Test Championship as a step towards getting the sport into the Olympic Games