ICC Annual Conference : A Look-In
Hong Kong was making the waves this week in the cricketing circles. No not that they have floated an international squad to be playing in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, it is just that there might well be a chance for minnows to play the premier tournament in 2015. Yes you heard me right,and it is official that the minnows are back in the reckoning for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The Annual Conference of International Cricket Council was held in Hong Kong over the last one week, and man have they made a few startling decisions. This article deals about the changes that have been brought about in the sport and in depth analysis of a couple of them.
Decision Review System(DRS)
The first day of the conference saw nothing significant in terms of decision making. It all started on the 27th of June, when the agreement of the Decision Review System was reached. The main obstacle for the ICC to streamline and regularise the DRS was the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The BCCI have always been against a lot of innovative things that come by their way. But in due course of time,they adapt to those things so much,that it gets really difficult to get them out of it. They were completely against the T20 matches when they were first introduced. And now most of the Indian cricketers get selected to the national outfit based on their domestic T20 performance. Though in the case of the DRS at this conference,it was a win win situation for both BCCI and ICC. BCCI made sure they had Hawk Eye out of the mandatory scheme of things and brought in Hot-Spot which did not even feature in the CWC 2011.
One day Matches
The ICC made a few minor changes to the rules in One day matches. Two new balls are going to be used since the beginning of the innings, one being used from each end. ICC claims this change has been brought to give the bowlers a chance in a batsman dominant game. It is really sad that the governing council of the sport,takes decisions just based on theory rather than looking at actual stats. In the recent past, the batsmen have been able to score against the quicker bowlers with ease,and more importantly with the new ball. The softer ball makes the scoring difficult for the batsman and enables reverse swing. If it were not for the older ball, India could not have dreamt of removing Mike Hussey and Devon Smith in their World Cup encounters.
As a complement to above made rule, one more change was made. The Batting and Bowling powerplays have to be taken only between the 16th and the 40th overs of the match. So, you give them a new ball till the 30th over,and mandate the period for the powerplays to be taken. The batsmen have the cake and can eat them too. The ICC would realise these tweaks which they think is good for the game is going to backfire sooner than later.
So with all this one would think a batsman could play the 50 overs with ease,no,there is a catch there. Even though a cricketer is supposed to be a good athlete,it is bound to happen that batsmen get tired,get cramps after a long innings. And it worsens,if he has fielded for the 50 overs and then come to bat. So earlier,there was a solution to this,by allowing some one else to run on your behalf. Well that is history now, because, runners have been abolished from one day cricket. This could bring some respite to the bowlers,atleast from Sehwag who had earlier told, “I will try to bat 50 overs and give a good start to the team. I have been unsuccessfully trying this for the past 10 years, but the effort is still on”…
When the throw comes in from a fielder and batsman runs in the way of the ball hitting the stumps,commentators would appreciate, telling that would be a very intelligent act to do.Well that cannot happen anymore. ICC has brought about this change where it prohibits the batsmen from changing their course in trying to prevent a run-out.The batsman can be adjudged out for obstructing the field. Now the umpire becomes powerful yet again because this dismissal is such a subjective one, and I hope 3rd umpire must not be allowed to intervene in this.
Vinoo Mankad made the news after a very long time,with the reinstating of the “Mankading”. Bowlers are allowed to run out the non striker who is backing up even before the bowler’s delivery stride is referred to as Mankading. This though was in the rules of the game was never used in the last decade or 15 years. The most notable instance was the let off by Courtney Walsh in the 1987 World Cup match against Pakistan.
Slow over-rates punishments have been made severe with the reduction of the number of matches with slow over-rate before the captain is suspended. The count has been brought down to 2 from 3 in any particular format in a 12-month period.
Hawk Eye can be used under DRS if the both the teams involved in the series agree to use the technology. All matches starting from the India’s tour of England should use the DRS mandatorily.
T20 International Tournament are going to have lesser number of minnow teams participating in it. The Associate nations have decided to lodge a formal protest against this. The number of teams have been brought down by 4,which leaves only 2 affiliate teams to participate in the global event.
The sportsmanship has been taken for a toss with a few of the decisions that have been made. The power of umpires down in the middle keeps reducing by the day. Fewer batsmen would play a long innings. In all, I strongly feel these decisions that have been made at the conference actually needs to undego DRS.