ICC news March 21, 2014

ICC rules out changes to ODI rules before World Cup

The amendments to the ODI playing conditions introduced in October 2011 will stay in place till next year's World Cup, the ICC has said. The amendments include the use of two new balls, which has been opposed by India and other south Asian countries as it affects spinners.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson has said the regulations will be reviewed after the marquee event, to be hosted jointly by Australia and New Zealand. India has been the flag-bearer of the subcontinental countries' movement against the new rules, which at times have resulted in the balance of the game tilting heavily in favour of the batsmen.

"We're not going to consider any changes prior to the World Cup," Richardson said in Dhaka on Friday. "After the World Cup the rules will be reviewed by the cricket committee again. As I said, we wanted to create a more attacking 50-over game, one that could compete on the entertainment scales with T20 cricket. It's too early to say. I think it's led to a more attacking game from a bowling and fielding perspective."

The BCCI, who had consistently raised the matter during ICC Board meetings over the last year, said they couldn't do anything till the World Cup but stuck to their stand. "There is a need to review is what India has been saying and there should be a fair contest between bat and ball which isn't the case now," a BCCI insider told ESPNcricinfo.

In fact, the BCCI's attempt to get the system overhauled was foiled in an ICC Chief Executives' meeting in September 2013. "There was a voting process and India along with Pakistan, Bangladesh voted against use of two new balls," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel had said after the meeting. "Australia, New Zealand, England and Zimbabwe were among those in favour of using two new balls while West Indies and South Africa abstained from voting. We have expressed our reservations about using of two new balls."

According to the new regulations that came in place in October 2012, two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the mandatory Powerplay of ten overs, and three during the batting Powerplay, which needs to be taken between the 16th and the 40th over. At other times, a maximum of four fielders can be placed outside the circle, a reduction from the earlier five. Most importantly, two new balls are used from each end.

The use of two new balls has resulted in the spinners finding it difficult to get into the game. Besides, in subcontinental conditions, reverse swing is also almost taken out of equation, thus resulting in the totals moving upwards with every passing series. In fact, India captain MS Dhoni said during the high-scoring ODI series against Australia last year that the new rules had converted bowlers into "bowling machines".

"Yes, runs per over might have increased and bowlers, at times on flat wickets, find it very tough," Richardson said. "But essentially the best bowlers are still top of the bowling rankings and the best batsmen still top of the batting rankings.

"We just might need to change our perceptions. In the old days, if you scored a run a ball everyone said you had a tremendous strike-rate. Now they're saying you have to be 120-130. Same with the bowlers. In the old days, Fanie de Villiers got upset if he went for more than three runs per over. Now, bowlers only get upset when they go for more than six runs an over. Yes, things have changed. But I don't necessarily think for the bad."

Another BCCI functionary agreed that "too many changes just before the World Cup won't be good" but stressed that the BCCI will continue to strive for getting the balance of ODIs back in place after the World Cup.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo