MCC proposes radical player send-off law

Barry Richards holds the bat with which he made 325 in a day at the WACA in 1970 in his right hand, and David Warner’s modern-day weapon in his left © Cricket Australia

Giving umpires the power to send players off the field for grievous disciplinary violations, limiting the maximum width of the edge and depth of a bat and allowing catches off a fielder’s helmet were among the significant outcomes of the MCC world cricket committee meeting in Mumbai on December 6 and 7.

The committee also said it wouldn’t recommend a change to the existing ball-tampering law, which was brought under scrutiny after South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was found guilty of tampering – he was caught on camera allegedly shining the ball with saliva while having a lozenge in his mouth. Du Plessis has since appealed the verdict.

All the recommendations will need to be approved by the main MCC committee.

Send-off law

The MCC world cricket committee recommended that umpires be empowered “to eject cricketers from a game for serious disciplinary breaches” such as threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator, and any other act of violence on the field.

“If approved, the ability to send a player off would therefore come into effect at all levels of the game from October 1, 2017,” the committee said. “Cricket is one of the only sports in which there is no ‘in-match’ punishment for poor behaviour. A captain may ask his player to leave the field but the umpires have no such jurisdiction. Taking an extreme example, a batsman could wilfully hit a member of the fielding side with their bat, before carrying on to score a century to win the match for their team. Cricket therefore needs a punishment which will have an impact on the perpetrator and his or her team during that particular match.”

Bat edges and depth

The width of the edge of the bat could be restricted to a maximum of 40mm, and the depth to a maximum of 67mm from October 1, 2017, if the committee’s recommendations are approved.

“Whilst not wishing to turn the clocks back too far, the committee, together with the Club’s Cricket committee – which met last week at Lord’s – wants to draw a line in the sand and target mis-hits that are clearing the boundary ropes for six,” the committee said. “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.”

Dismissals when the ball has touched a fielder’s helmet

Under the existing law, catches and stumpings are not permitted if the ball touches any part of the helmet worn by a fielder or wicketkeeper. In recent times, Moeen Ali and Tom Latham were reprieved as close-in fielders caught the ball but it made contact with the helmet. Such decisions will go in the bowler’s favour if the main MCC committee passes this recommendation.

“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.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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