MCC news September 30, 2015

MCC revises fielder movement Law

ESPNcricinfo staff

Steven Smith's catch to dismiss Fawad Alam in 2014 was an example of legal anticipation © Getty Images

The MCC has confirmed an update to the Laws that allows a fielder to make a "significant movement" before the striker has played the ball. The ICC, in consultation with the MCC, had already introduced a playing condition to this effect last year, which came to light after Steven Smith took a catch to remove Fawad Alam* in an ODI in Abu Dhabi.

Previously, under Laws 41.7 and 41.8, Smith's movement would have resulted in a dead ball, with "significant movement ... before the ball reaches the striker" deemed as "unfair".

They have now been replaced by a single Law 41.7, governing movement by fielders other than the wicketkeeper. The change is designed to promote "intelligent fielding" and allows a player to move if it becomes obvious a batsman will play the ball in a certain direction.

The decision of the umpires to allow Smith's catch during the 2014 match between Pakistan and Australia caused some controversy, until it became known that the ICC had adapted the Law to allow a degree of movement. This has now been taken into account by the MCC's latest revision of the Laws.

John Stephenson, MCC's head of cricket, said: "As the Guardian of the Laws and Spirit of cricket, it is important that MCC continues to keep pace with the game's development, and that's why we have made these changes to the Laws. Steve Smith's excellent catch in Abu Dhabi last year illustrated that such skilful anticipation by a fielder should be within the Laws of the game, and these changes now make that the case."

October 1, 0430GMT: Corrected to state that Fawad Alam, and not Fawad Ahmed, was the batsman.

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