ICC calls for new limit on bat size

London, June 3

India’s Anil Kumble and several other former Test players on an International Cricket Council committee have urged the sport’s law-makers to bring in new restrictions on the size of bats amid concerns over a glut of run-scoring.

Following a two-day meeting at Lord’s, the headquarters of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MMC), the ICC cricket committee chaired by Kumble issued a statement saying it wanted MCC, which still has overall global responsibility for cricket’s Laws or rules, to instigate a clampdown.

While there are limitations on bat length (when the lower portion of the handle is inserted it shall not be more than 38in/96.5cm) and width (4.25in/10.8cm at its widest part), none currently exist on depth.

Modern manufacturers have become increasingly skilled at making bats with larger ‘sweet spots’ that do not feel as heavy to pick-up as the blades that were once only the preserve of 1980s power-hitters such as West Indies great Clive Lloyd and England hero Ian Botham.

The balance between bat and ball has become especially loaded against bowlers in limited overs games where the innovations brought in by Twenty20 cricket, allied to increasingly short boundaries, have led to an orgy of run-scoring.

Last year’s 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand witnessed 38 hundreds, nearly one every game, and 463 sixes, an average of one every nine overs.

West Indies’ Chris Gayle struck 16 sixes in racing to the fastest ODI double hundred during a WC match against Zimbabwe at Canberra’s Manuka Oval, while New Zealand’s Martin Guptill hit a six measured at 110 metres in the course of his 237 against the West Indies at Wellington.

Thursday’s statement from the ICC cricket committee, whose members include several former Test batsmen from England, India Sri Lanka, said: “MCC sought the committee’s guidance on the desirability of making changes in order to redress balance between bat and ball.