Sendings-off and bat restrictions planned after MCC world committee meeting

Glenn McGrath

Australia’s Glenn McGrath was jokingly shown a red card by umpire Billy Bowden during the first ever Twenty20 international in 2005 after he pretended to bowl underarm

Cricket is set to introduce sendings-off for the first time next year, while the size of bats is to be limited.

Umpires will be given the power to eject players from a game for serious disciplinary breaches.

MCC World Cricket Committee member Ricky Ponting explained that sanctions needed to be implemented.

“We’re talking about a significant change to lower-level cricket because it has got completely out of hand down there,” the ex-Australia captain said.

MCC (the Marylebone Cricket Club) remains the guardian of the laws and spirit of the game, and its world cricket committee – established in 2006 and comprised of 12 current and former top international players – has been a leading independent voice on the game’s major issues.

The new laws will be implemented at all levels of the game from 1 October 2017, subject to approval by MCC’s main committee.

When would players be ejected?

According to the proposed new law, agreed at the world cricket committee’s meeting in Mumbai, players will be dismissed for:

  • threatening an umpire
  • physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator
  • any other act of violence on the field of play

Ponting added: “It got to the state where something had to happen to prevent those things happening on the international stage.

“The modern player now understands their role in society, about being role models and want to play the game the right way for younger kids.”

The committee also debated sanctions including run penalties and sin-bins for lesser offences, but decided it would be difficult to achieve consistency around the world – and may introduce an appendix to the laws in order for governing bodies or leagues to implement their own system.

  • READ MORE: Should cricket introduce red and yellow cards?

Bat edges and depths to be limited

Following much debate in the past few years over bat sizes, and a call for restrictions from the International Cricket Council in June, specific size limitations to the edge and depth of bats will be added to the laws as the committee believes “the balance of the game has tilted too far in the batsman’s favour” – with some mis-hit shots clearing the boundary for six.

Bat edges will have a maximum allowance of 40mm and bat depths must not exceed 67mm (60mm plus an allowance of 7mm for a possible curve on the face of the bat).

“Many of the top players’ bats have edges of between 38mm and 42mm, but there are some which have edges of up to 50mm, which was felt to be excessive and in need of restriction,” the committee concluded.

While a bat gauge will be used to enforce the new restriction in the professional game, a moratorium will allow amateur players to continue to use their existing bats which may be in breach of the new law.

  • What are the current laws relating to bat size? (external site)

Law on ball striking a fielder’s helmet to change

Catches and stumpings will now be permitted after the ball has struck a helmet being worn by a fielder, or become lodged or trapped in the grille of such a helmet – given the wearing of helmets by close fielders has been made compulsory at some levels.

However, a ball striking an unattended helmet behind the wicketkeeper will still earn five runs for the batting side.

Among its other discussions:

  • the committee decided the law on ball-tampering would not be changed
  • proposals for four-day Tests were debated but the committee was evenly split
  • the committee also reaffirmed its support for (a) Twenty20 cricket being added to the Olympic Games, and (b) a World Test Championship to be introduced