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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip on July 19, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Players today stronger, fitter etc? Consider Olympic records. For much of the modern Olympic Games' era, sport was not professional. "Elite" types from many backgrounds were unseen at such events and thus had no influence at all. The pool of Olympic athletes was tiny. From that low base, records would of course be broken. Then along came professionalism too. Coaching, nutrition, medicine, equipment and even venues improved and so the record breaking continues. During the Inca empire messengers ran along stone-lined tracks at ultra-high altitude every day. Was the fastest Inca of any generation not capable of an Olympic medal now? We'll never know, but my guess is yes. Cricketers of the late 19th century could hit the ball - people like Bonner, Albert Trott, & Trumper cleared the fence easily with tooth-pick bats despite not playing on the roads we see today. A mis-hit and they could be caught in the deep. Now mis-hits go for six. Today's hitters aren't super-human. They're super-lucky.

  • John on July 18, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    i@ py0alb,real cricket is about a fair contest between Bat & Ball not a Mickey Mouse contest between 2 under achieving sides who do not care about the outcome as long as the money keeps rolling in.I have not played the game seriously for the past 30 years,but I still have my toothpick Grey Nicholls bat in the attic,alas my Grandson thinks that it is only taking up house space,unfortunately he has never played the game with a toothpick bat,and in my humble opinion he is the loser and it would serve him a lot a better to get the hang of it than with the monstrosities that find their way to being sold.I would like to think that he would agree in later life that the old bat technology was far ahead of what these days purport to Cricket Bat advancement,just check the Batting Averages of the top 12 Test Match Batsmen and their playing era.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    Bats have made a huge difference. I am a bowler, but with the modern day bats, I do fancy myself an allrounder. I play amateur cricket, and often there is bat sharing. When a team mate gets a new, expensive bat, with the edge almost the size of the face, my batting skill - measured in lucky boundaries - skyrockets. Added to smaller boundaries, I know that, regardless of bowler or ball, I can hit a slog sweep six. Does this seem right. Not to me. It just aint cricket.

  • Adam on July 18, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the bats. That is what the report showed. if anyone here actually bothered to read it.

    Its the advent of professional T20, isn't it? How is this not obvious to people.

    Even at the club level I play at, there are far more 6s than there were 10 years ago, and we don't have massive thick bats and the boundaries are no shorter. Its because we play and watch more T20 games, so the batsmen have practiced hitting big shots for 20 over games and have got good enough at it to use them in longer games as well.

  • udendra on July 18, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    So do they intend to do anything about boundary sizes?

  • Philip on July 18, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    "Consensus could not be found" - I would presume from this that there was some support for limiting the volume of bats, albeit in the minority. Maybe an earlier comment was right and more bowlers are needed on this committee to get some balance back.

  • Peter on July 17, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    @Jonathan Jono Lane. Same down here as well. Our home ground faces the Pacific Ocean inside a road available for parking as it is a tourist destination spot. More cars are getting hit now than ever! And of course, our insurances have gone up. Have batsmen become stronger or the bats get the ball travelling further? Personally, I have never hit so many sixes in my life as I have the past 4 years & I haven't got stronger! Cheers.

  • Joshua on July 17, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    Bowlers are being scrutinized so much these days its unbelievable. Only radical changes will achieve the "balance" genuine fans want. Maybe they should allow pace and spin bowlers to flex their arms 30 degrees and adopt a baseball pitcher's wind-up. Maybe bowlers should be able to "switch-bowl". Maybe the wide markings should be wider. Maybe the bouncer limit should be changed to 3 per over for all formats. Maybe the ball should be camouflaged. Maybe bats should be no wider than 2 stumps and no thicker than 3 inches. Maybe the minimum boundary limit should be 75 meters for all grounds. Maybe the grass in the outfield should be cut no lower than 4 inches. Maybe they should do away with fielding restrictions completely - let captains be innovative rather than dictated, and make batsmen have to try harder. Its just too easy.

    It is because of this imbalance why many "good" batsmen post 2000 will struggle to be amongst the best ever to play the game in the mind of an experienced fan.

  • James on July 17, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    I think the size of the boundaries - particularly for Test matches could be looked and the reduced playing area has had as much of a negative impact for bowlers as thicker bats has. This would be easier to regulate as well.

  • Dummy4 on July 17, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    Dreadful decision.

    "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."

    Hey, MCC! I'm a television viewer as well, one who hates to see bowlers punished by mediocre batsmen. But there you have it. The needs of television viewers of T20 cricket overtakes the bowlers who actually participate in the game. Is it any wonder that the quality of international bowling is so low at the minute?

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