ICC news June 26, 2015

Bowlers benefit from ODI rule changes


Play 01:34
'Bowlers are on a hiding to nothing' - Richardson

In a move to give bowlers a bit of breathing room in 50-overs cricket, the ICC board has decided to do away with catching fielders in the first ten overs, get rid of the batting Powerplay, and allow five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the last ten overs of an ODI innings. The other notable change that will take place from July 5 will see free hits awarded for all no balls in ODI and T20 internationals, not just when bowlers overstep.

These changes to the playing conditions were part of the recommendations made this May by the ICC's cricket committee headed by the former India captain Anil Kumble. David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said the modifications were made to make the "game simpler" for the fan and were approved by the ICC's chief executive committee and further ratified by the ICC Board at the annual conference in Barbados this week.

"What we tried to do is make the game simpler for the fan and at the same time try and at least claw back a little bit of balance in favour of the bowlers especially in the last ten overs of the innings," Richardson said during a media conference on Friday. "So to that end we have got rid of the requirement to have compulsory close catchers in the first ten overs."

Explaining the move to remove the batting Powerplay, Richardson said bowlers were getting a "hiding to nothing" with batting teams going on a rampage during the last fifteen overs, taking advantage of the expansive gaps in the outfield. "We have got rid of the batting Powerplay where you were only allowed three fielders outside the circle. It was normally taken between the 36th and 40th overs. So you had those 15 overs where it was all hell broke loose and especially if a batsman was set on a good batting wicket we were on a hiding to nothing."

From October 2012 the ICC altered the fielding restrictions to ensure that no more than four fielders could be outside the circle at any stage of an ODI; previously five was the maximum. Although the change was implemented for the first time in a World Cup hosted earlier this year by Australia and New Zealand, teams have strongly criticised the move.

Incidentally in March Richardson had told ESPNCricinfo that he supported the fielding restrictions as they made the cricket and team tactics more aggressive. "Personally I'd like to see that we stick to the current fielding restrictions because I genuinely believe that has lead to a much more attacking approach, from the captaincy, fielding and batting perspectives."

Asked by veteran West Indies commentator Tony Cozier whether the ICC considered the big totals that teams were scoring regularly detrimental to ODI cricket, Richardson disagreed.

"Not necessarily, Tony," he said. "There is a great appreciation for the attacking nature of the play. The level of skills that batsmen have developed over the years are largely due to T20 cricket and just an overall attacking approach to the ODI game is actually welcome. The indirect impact of that is the only way the fielding team can survive is [by being] more attacking themselves. So you see an effort to get wickets especially early on in the innings. So the overall attacking approach is certainly not something we want to get rid of.

"Whether it is 300 or 400, as I said, towards the end of an innings in particular if you have just four fielders out, there is always two places you just cannot defend. But by allowing five fielders there is only one place. So if you have two places which are undefendable, you have to change the field and then the batsman knows exactly where you are going to bowl. Because you can't bowl anywhere else as you would be murdered. (So by) reducing undefended area to one it makes it a little bit easier for the bowler."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2015, 11:47 GMT

    Nice changes by icc . i appriciate . now the bowlers can change the game

  • Naresh on June 30, 2015, 10:22 GMT

    Chris Gayle with brute strength and a FAT BAT just needs to touch for the ball to disappear into the crowd. McCullum and the likes also use heavy bats. There is no fun watching bowlers get thrashed all over the field. Some fast bowlers could go into extinction at this rate. Scores are now touching 350-400. So definitely the odds are against the bowler.

  • Chris on June 29, 2015, 20:21 GMT

    1 Ball only, Minimum of 5 bowlers used, any number of overs per bowler. Allow leeway on leg side. No runs for leg byes, why should the batting team benefit if they are not good enough to hit the ball?

  • Animesh on June 29, 2015, 11:58 GMT

    Not yet happy with rules. What about 15-40 overs?? Why still 4 fielders allowed. Would have been good if they allowed 1 power play between 30-30 overs with 5 fielders allowed outside 30 yrd circle..

  • Tejas on June 29, 2015, 10:02 GMT

    I would like to see two balls, but which ball to use when should depend on bowling team, then there will more exciting strategies be followed by teams as per their strength

  • d on June 29, 2015, 7:03 GMT

    Still not happy with two new ball rules. one ball for 50 over will bring reverse swing back to ODI. Fans would love to see that. Relly miss the deadle reverse swinging yorkers in ODI like Waqar,Wasim,lee used to bowl. Those days were more competitive than nowadays

  • Pratik Bedia on June 29, 2015, 5:29 GMT

    What is the meaning of doing away with the catching fielders in the first ten overs? Does it mean there would be no field restrictions in the first 10 overs?

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2015, 4:17 GMT

    @Martin Briggs I disagree for allowing more than 10 overs to a bowler. You have 4 bowlers bowling 12 overs each and may be a part timer bowling 2 overs to make it 50. Then team selections would be 7 batsmen-4 bowlers. With more batsmen in the team they can wreck the bowling. I would rather have 5 bowlers and 6 batsmen, I don't want to see lower order batters giving bowlers hard time. At least last 3 wickets should fall in span of 15-20 runs, not making most of the runs, we have top order batsmen for that.

  • Kester Monrose on June 29, 2015, 2:59 GMT

    I still want to see one ball being used do the spinners can get into the game.

  • Johnathon on June 29, 2015, 2:29 GMT

    @impact, no balls are only called when the bowler has bowled 2 bouncers and the 3rd bouncer is a no ball. It is extremely rare to get a no ball for a 3rd bouncer nowadays. It will more affect beamers which is perfectly acceptable. I think now that we have a free hit for beamers, we can remove the penalty of getting kicked out of the match for bowling 2 beamers. They are already getting punishment enough, why kick someone out of the game for a ball accidentally slipping through the hand twice?

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