Rain-break fall-out June 19, 2008

ICC changes rule after rain farce

Cricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum looks aghast as the umpires inform him the chase is off © Getty Images

The ICC has acted swiftly - although still too late to help New Zealand - to amend the rule regarding the length of the interval in ODIs in response to the farcical finish to the second one-dayer against England at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

For the final three matches of the series officials will be allowed to reduce the length of the interval if the first innings is interrupted, as was the case at Edgbaston where England batted for 24 overs before the break. New Zealand were denied the chance to level the series when rain ended the game with one over to go for the result to have counted, having had to sit out the innings break of 30 minutes in fine weather.

The helpless umpires Steve Davis and Ian Gould came under fire for not acting differently, although they had no choice but to enforce the half-hour interval under the existing rules. The ICC chief executives' committee will examine the matter when it meets in Dubai at the end of June to consider a permanent change to the rule. In the meantime the final part of regulation 15.1 has been amended to read: "Where the innings of the side batting first is delayed or interrupted, the umpires will reduce the length of the interval.

"In the event of time being lost (playing time lost less any extra time provided) up to and including 60 minutes in aggregate, the length of the interval shall be reduced from 45 to 30 minutes. In the event of more than 60 minutes being lost in aggregate, the duration of the interval shall be agreed mutually by the umpires and both captains subject to no interval being of more than 30 minutes' duration or less than 10 minutes' duration. In the event of disagreement, the length of the interval shall be determined by the ICC match referee."

In the aftermath of Wednesday's fiasco, New Zealand's captain Daniel Vettori called for common sense to prevail. It has, and quickly, but New Zealand still have grounds to feel hard done by with the original rules. The third match in the series takes place at Bristol on Saturday where England will now head 1-0 up.