ICC gives umpire reviews the go-ahead
The umpire review system will be rolled out in Test cricket from October this year and umpires will have greater scope to decide on bad-light interruptions after the ICC adopted several recommendations from its cricket committee. The potential for a day-night Test in 2010 was also discussed at the ICC's meetings in Lord's this week, as was harsher penalties for slow over rates.
It was expected that the umpire review system would be introduced permanently following trials over the past year. This week's gatherings, including the ICC Chief Executives' Committee meeting on Monday and Tuesday, and the first day of the ICC board meeting on Wednesday, confirmed the development.
It was also agreed that day-night cricket would be explored further, with the potential for a day-night Test in 2010, if such issues as developing an appropriate ball and trialing it at first-class level could be resolved. Finding a suitable coloured ball remains one of the major stumbling blocks and Australia are keen to test several prototypes during a mock match, possibly during the 2009-10 summer.
The meetings also determined that play should only be suspended for bad light when umpires decided conditions were unreasonable or dangerous, rather than "unsuitable", as is currently the case. The umpires are expected to make that call on their own instead of offering the light to the batsmen.
Fines for slow over-rates will be doubled and a captain of a team guilty of three over-rate fines in the same format in a rolling 12-month period will be automatically suspended for one match. Match officials will also be encouraged to be more diligent in enforcing the playing conditions to minimise delays due to such interruptions as unscheduled drinks breaks.
The development of a new Future Tours Programme was also discussed. The ICC board meeting continues on Thursday, when the members will discuss, among other things, the 2011 World Cup.