The ICC Cricket Committee concluded its two-day meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday
The ICC Cricket Committee makes recommendations on cricket playing issues to the Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) and, if it is a policy matter, the ICC Board for approval.
Both the CEC and the ICC Board are scheduled to meet during the ICC annual conference week in Melbourne from 22-28 June.
The ICC Cricket Committee comprises representatives of many stakeholder groups involved in the modern game, including players, umpires and the media, and is chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble.
The following were among the major issues discussed by the ICC Cricket Committee:
The committee noted an increase in the number of reports made under the Code of Conduct during 2013-14, and encouraged umpires to continue to take strong action when player behavior crossed acceptable boundaries. There was particular concern about the number of reports laid for inappropriate physical contact between players, as many of these incidents had the potential to turn into an ugly confrontation.
Balance between bat and ball
The committee discussed the balance between bat and ball in international cricket, noting a sharp increase in the number of sixes hit in ODI cricket over the past 6 months. The MCC reported on some of its research into developments in cricket bat design, and particularly the improved performance of today’s thicker bats. The committee will be keeping a close watch on the performance of cricket bats moving forward. In the short term, the committee was of the strong view that venues must be set-up to their maximum boundary dimensions, having observed a noticeable distance between the rope and the perimeter fence at some international grounds. The current ICC playing conditions direct that the largest possible playing area be provided subject to a maximum boundary size of 90 yards from the centre of the pitch.
Day-Night Test Cricket
A report was provided on the recent MCC v Durham day-night First Class match played in Abu Dhabi, as well as the recent round of day-night Sheffield Shield matches played in Australia. While it was noted that development of the pink ball was ongoing, the committee was encouraged by the recent interest shown by a number of countries in playing day-night Test matches, and believed that the playing conditions should still provide the opportunity for Boards to schedule a day-night Test match if both countries agree.
Running Out the Non-Striker
The Cricket Committee expects players to observe the Spirit of Cricket at all times, but it also believes that a non-striker should be deterred from leaving the crease before the time the bowler normally delivers the ball. It did not support a formal warning being introduced prior to a bowler being eligible to run out a non-striker, but it did support the view expressed by most captains that the umpires shouldn’t ask the captain whether he wanted the appeal to stand before making a final decision. The Law strikes a sensible balance between preventing a batsman from gaining an advantage whilst at the same time preventing the bowler from unfairly seducing the batsman into leaving his crease by faking to deliver and then holding on to the ball.
Illegal bowling actions
The committee noted that there are a number of bowlers with suspect actions currently playing international cricket, and that the ICC’s reporting and testing procedures are not adequately scrutinizing these bowlers. It recommended that changes be considered to encourage umpires and referees to identify suspect bowlers with greater confidence, to use the expertise of the biomechanists working in this area to assume a greater role during the assessment process, and to allow for ongoing scrutiny of bowlers once they have been identified under the ICC procedures.
Members of the committee were also updated on the project to increase the number of illegal action testing centres around the cricketing world, noting that Cardiff Metropolitan University was now accredited to conduct illegal action testing for the ICC, and that other facilities in India, Australia, England and South Africa were likely to be accredited over coming months.
They also received an update on the project to measure illegal actions in a match environment using wearable sensor technology. The second stage of the project has just concluded, with 70 players being tested by wearing the sensors at training sessions during the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The results of the trials were very encouraging, with the final stage of the project expected to conclude in 2016.
Use of Technology in Umpiring
The committee discussed the performance of the different technologies that were used in umpiring international cricket over the past 12 months, and the various issues that arose.
One concern related to the checking of No balls on the fall of a wicket, and the delay caused by stopping a dismissed batsman from leaving the field while the replays of the No ball were reviewed. The committee was very positive about the Officiating Replay System (ORS) used during the latter stages of the World T20 in Bangladesh, which consists of a dedicated screen and an operator who sits in the TV umpire’s room and provides the TV umpire with instant replays from any camera angle. This system can be used in either DRS or non-DRS matches, and can help umpires make accurate decisions quickly, particularly boundary and No ball checks.
The committee unanimously supported the expanded use of this system in international cricket, and this recommendation will be considered by the Chief Executives later in June.
The committee also considered the performance of the Decision Review System (DRS), and some of the improvements that were made to the system in the second half of the year.
The Cricket Committee was also updated on the deliberations of the Working Group the ICC established to review the use of technology in umpiring. It supported one of the strong recommendations from the Working Group, that all technology used in decision-making should be independently evaluated prior to being included on a revised list of technologies approved for use in DRS matches. It was advised that this testing is likely to commence in the second half of 2014.
The Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee, Anil Kumble, said: “We have enjoyed two very productive days of meetings in which the committee discussed a wide range of issues. I thank the members for their insight and value their recommendations, which will now be taken forward to the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee and the ICC Board later this month in Melbourne.”
The ICC Cricket Committee is made up of the following people:
Chairman – Anil Kumble (former India captain)
Ex-Officio (two) – Alan Isaac (ICC President) and David Richardson (ICC Chief Executive)
Past Player representatives (two) – Mark Taylor (former Australia captain) and Andrew Strauss (former England captain)
Current Player representatives (two) – Kumar Sangakkara (ex-Sri Lanka captain and current player) andLaxman Sivaramakrishnan (ex-India leg-spinner)
Full Member team coach representative (two) – Darren Lehmann (Australia coach) and Ottis Gibson (West Indies coach)
Women’s Cricket representative (one) – Clare Connor (former England women’s team captain)
Member Board representative (one) – David White (NZC Chief Executive)
Associate representative (one) – Trent Johnston (Former Ireland captain)
Media representative (one) – Ravi Shastri (former India captain and a respected commentator)
Umpires’ representative (one) – Steve Davis (member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires)
Referees’ representative (one) – Ranjan Madugalle (ICC chief match referee and former Sri Lanka captain)
MCC representative (one) – John Stephenson (MCC’s Head of Cricket)
Statistician representative (one) – David Kendix (statistician/scorer)
Note: Those absent from the meeting in Bengaluru were Kumar Sangakkara, Ottis Gibson and Ranjan Madugalle. Darren Lehmann joined the second day of the meeting via a remote link.