ICC news December 3, 2013

ICC chief backs new ODI rules

ESPNcricinfo staff

Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, has defended the new ODI regulations - fewer fielders in the outfield and two new balls - saying they have made "the game more attacking and more exciting." He said the rules had not resulted in an overall inflation in totals.

"Overall, we are seeing that the total runs scored in an innings have more or less remained constant," Richardson said in Mumbai. "The average runs in a one-day innings is about 250 and the data shows that the only change is that a higher percentage of those 250 is scored in boundaries, as opposed to ones and twos. This is one of the reasons why we introduced the fielding restrictions in the first place, to try and make the game more attacking and more exciting. There are more wickets falling and more boundaries being scored and the totals on an average are remaining thesame."

The new rules have been criticised by players and boards in the subcontinent, with the BCCI opposing the use of new balls from both ends. During the recent home series against Australia, India captain MS Dhoni suggested it was becoming impossible for bowlers to contain boundaries with only a maximum four fielders outside the 30-yard circle. Nine of the 11 completed innings in that series produced 300-plus totals. According to Richardson that series may have been a one-off, but he conceded that bowlers might be having a harder time on subcontinent pitches.

"Conditions vary across the world and certainly in the subcontinent where you find yourself on a good batting pitch that is taking no spin, no seam movement, the bowlers really have their hands full," he said. "If you look at the results all over the world in other conditions like England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, you will find that the new fielding restrictions have worked well. Also the fact that we are using two new balls as opposed to one has allowed the bowlers to take more wickets, especially in the first 10 overs when the seam bowlers are at the batsmen. This has also worked well."

Richardson also said the ICC would instruct host venues in Australia and New Zealand to prepare balanced pitches during the 2015 World Cup.

"Certainly for ICC events, we do give directions to the host countries as to the preparation of the pitch. It will be the same as the World Cup that was held in the subcontinent," he said. "The difference being that in Australia and New Zealand, conditions tend to be more seamer-friendly as opposed to spin-friendly. So our direction would be we want a pitch thatprovides good bounce but not too much lateral movement, in this case seam movement. Generally in one-day cricket we try to favour the batting team and we look for totals between 230 and 260."