Batting powerplays scrapped from ODIs
Melbourne, June 27
Batting powerplays have been scrapped from one-day international cricket and field restrictions relaxed to provide some relief to bowlers who were set upon mercilessly at the World Cup.
At its annual conference in Barbados, the International Cricket Council (ICC) ratified a number of proposed changes to the 50-over format, which come into effect from July 5. Among them, the requirement to post catching fielders within the 30-yard circle in the first 10 overs has been dropped and five fielders will be allowed outside of it in the last 10 overs, rather than the previous maximum of four.
"We have thoroughly reviewed the ODI format after a very successful ICC Cricket World Cup," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement. "There was no need to make any radical changes to what has proved to be a vibrant and popular format but we wanted to take this opportunity to make the format simpler and easier to follow for the public as well as maintaining a balance between bat and ball." In another notable change, all no-balls by bowlers will hand a free hit to batters, as opposed to just foot-faults.
Though Australia paceman Mitchell Starc was named the best player of the World Cup, batsmen reigned supreme in most matches where innings scores regularly breached 350 runs and occasionally surpassed 400. The ICC are looking at the size and build of bats which have sometimes compounded bowlers' misery by sending miss-hits sailing over boundary ropes for six.
Richardson also said the ICC might "tamper" with the seam on balls to see if bowlers could garner any additional aid. "There is a view if we sanction or look at some change to the thickness or the depth of seam, it might actually be what we are looking forward to give the seam bowlers a little bit more help, also aid swing and to enable the spinners to get more grip and to spin the ball more if we tamper with the seam," Richardson said in comments posted on espncricinfo.com.