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Cricket: ICC Conference - Presenting New Dimensions to the Game

Full of energy: Sachin Tendulkar's 200 became all that special because he scored the runs all himself

July 27, 2011 will certainly be remembered in all the days of cricket, especially after the International Cricket Committee (ICC) was on the course of a rule changing rampage, raising the eyebrows of entire cricket arena. With a lot of teams playing victimus infinitus against the on-field umpiring errors and the BCCI repeatedly exuding their enigmatic somberness of the currently existing DRS, it became all that important for the members elite panel to call it a day for all the reeks of existing controversies.

That afternoon saw a few new rules being inducted, several others tweaked, while few others getting abolished. If there was one takeaway from the day, it was that the rule-list was prepared by having the future of the game in perspective. It wasn’t surprising to see the word ‘unanimous’ getting emphasized at the end of the day.

DRS : Win-Win

The most crucial decision that the ICC took that afternoon was to impart the use of DRS in all international tests and ODIs. In the pursuit of making it more foolproof, if not to soothe the BCCI, the ICC has removed Hawk-eye from the mandatory list of DRS technologies. It is beyond the repertoire of the Hawkeye to track the ball from where it pitched, for it was primarily invented only to do the latter – to examine where the ball pitched. It can only be used for screening for lbw shouts as it can accurately ascertain if the impact was outside the line or if the ball pitched outside leg stump. Anything more than that will be beyond its ambit and can only be used to flatter the creator.

The ICC has recommended the use of infra-red cameras and high-quality sound-tracking devices which offer more accuracy and reliability than the contemporary ball-tracking technologies and snickometers. By doing so it has forced the BCCI to relax its ridiculous stand against DRS to the extent that it endorsed the word ‘victory’ at the end of the day.

Score the runs all yourself

“I take the single even before I play the ball,” Sachin Tendulkar famously said, when asked why he didn’t want a runner in the World Cup 2003 against Pakistan. (He departed immediately after he called for a runner, but then he delayed the call.) The ICC has now decided to strip the use of runners. There have been several crucial games where we have seen injured batsmen seeing their team home with the aid of a runner. The decision stems from the players misusing the rule to their advantage; faking injuries. This means that the players need to keep their fitness intact or they will be ruthlessly left out of the eleven. It will be interesting to see that, the rule is going to reduce the cramps that the players develop during a game.

New ball from both ends

The mandatory ball change after the 34th over hasn’t solved its purpose for the white ball turns so colorful so soon, that the batsmen find it difficult even to spot it. So the ICC has decided that a ball should be used for no more than 25 overs and calls for introducing new balls from both ends.

The move would have ignited Praveen Kumar and others new ball bowlers with a grin as much as it demands captains to be wary about using their spinners. The rule has given room for coaches and captains to think and those who benefit the most will be those who dare to innovate. Spinners who can operate with the new ball and who have the rare ability to bowl in the death will be the ones who laugh their way into the side. One of the major tournaments that subscribed on this rule was the World Cup 1992 and it is not difficult to understand why the Pakistani pacemen were too hot to handle then.

The decision to use both the powerplays between overs 16-40 in ODIs will come as a refreshing alternative to stereotyped middle overs. This has also shunned the predictability out of the format.

The M S Dhoni dismissal in the second innings of the first test only elucidated one thing: however better and fine-tuned the technology gets, it only takes a thoughtless operator to squander all its advantage by pressing a wrong button. Care should be taken in supervising the technicians at work as much as it is done for fine-tuning the use of technology.

However, if the technology can assist the umpires in making their decisions or at least contribute in reducing the on-field umpiring errors by even 5%, there is no reason why it can’t be implemented.

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