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MCC world committee suggests standard balls for Test championship

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The Marylebone Cricket Club World Cricket Committee has proposed the use of a standard ball by all teams for the World Test Championship as part of the recommendations made after its latest meeting.

The Test championship begins after the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 and the committee, which met in Bengaluru on 8 and 9 March, said it provided the "perfect opportunity" to introduce the standardisation in the interest of the game. 

Currently, the Dukes ball is used for Tests in England and the West Indies, the SG ball in India, and the Kookaburra everywhere else, including for day/night Tests. "It would be for the ICC to choose which ball is most suitable, with the committee stressing that the balance between bat and ball is crucial," a statement after the meeting said.

The committee, chaired by Mike Gatting and comprising of current and former international cricketers and umpires, also suggested that the red Dukes ball be trialled in Asian conditions. This takes into account feedback from the likes of India captain Virat Kohli and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who were critical of the quality of SG balls last year.

There were significant recommendation about speeding up over-rates, including through the introduction of free hits on no-balls in Test cricket, in line with the existent rules in limited-overs cricket.

"England recently had a spell of 45 ODIs without bowling a no-ball, yet they bowled 11 in the three Test series against the West Indies. The system would not only be exciting for crowds when there was a free hit, but also it would help to speed up over rates, if fewer no-balls are bowled," the committee reasoned.

Video cwc19 26 Nov 18
David Richardson on ICC’s bid for women’s cricket in Commonwealth Games

There was also strong backing for women's T20 cricket to feature in the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham, England, in 2022, with New Zealand's Suzie Bates, who is a member of the committee, describing it as potential "game-changer".

The ICC, in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board, has submitted a bid in this regard. 

The committee, which meets twice a year to discuss the prevalent issues in the game, will next gather on 11 and 12 August at Lord's.

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