MCC news July 16, 2014

MCC decide against bat Law change

It has become a batsman's game they say but the MCC have no plans yet to change the Law on the size of bats.

The MCC World Cricket Committee debated the impact of modern bats and, despite mixed views, concluded that a Law change was not yet necessary because the balance between bat and ball has yet to tip sufficiently far enough in favour of the batsman.

It is often commented upon how the thickness of modern bats and the sizes of edges have transformed the game, with batsmen now able to hit the ball further, more consistently and often without remotely finding the middle.

This was investigated by Imperial College London, who were commissioned by the MCC to conduct a study into the size of cricket bats through the ages.

The report compared by a 1905 Gray Nicholls Ranjit bat the 1980 Powerspot and three more modern versions. It demonstrated that modern bats have bigger sweet spots, with much larger edges, and that the ball goes further when hit closer to the edge.

In the five bats tested, the size of the sweet spot varied from only 80mm to 215mm in the middle and 60mm to 165mm for a thick edge. Not only was the 1905 bat was the least effective and the most modern bats possess the largest 'middle', there had been a measurable improvement since 2009.

A scrutiny of ODIs since 1979 by Imperial also revealed the boundary count, and especially sixes, has increased dramatically.

The cricket committee assessed the findings of the report and debated the consequences, such as the benefit of a greater number of boundaries for television viewers against the fairness for bowlers of more apparent mis-hits finding the rope.

Consensus could not be found and it was decided to retain the current Law on the size of bats, contained in Appendix E of the Laws of Cricket, which only limit the length of the bat to 38 inches and the width to 4 ¼ inches.

But it was noted that boundaries should be pushed out as far as is possible under heath and safety regulations to prevent batsmen gaining further advantage.