MCC back-track on beamers rule after criticism from grassroots

Mohammad Shahzad swerves away from a beamer Associated Press

MCC, the guardian of the Laws of Cricket, has back-pedalled on its new, more punitive approach to head-high full tosses, after accepting that stricter penalties were unfair to those who delivered them by accident, in particular inexperienced junior players.

Law 41.7, which concerns the bowling of dangerous and unfair non-pitching deliveries (beamers), was amended in October 2017 as part of an attempt to clamp down on the increasing levels of misconduct that had been creeping into the sport in recent years, particularly at club level.

The amended law, issued as part of the first code revision since 2000, stated that any bowler who delivered more than one beamer, passing above waist-height of the batsman and irrespective of speed, had to be taken out of the attack.

Previously slow deliveries could be up to shoulder height, with two warnings to be given to the bowler prior to a removal from the attack for a third infringement.

The interpretation caused particular disquiet among junior coaches, who feared that young bowlers would be discouraged from attempting to bowl if they were penalised on grounds that had been introduced to improve discipline and safety at higher levels of the game.

In a statement, MCC acknowledged that the rule change had been too strict.

"Since its introduction, feedback has been received which suggests strongly that the new sanctions were overly severe (especially to younger bowlers)," the club said. "In many cases, Governing Bodies introduced their own playing conditions that rendered the new Law irrelevant.

"In response to this feedback, the Laws sub-committee has reviewed Law 41.7 and - with the support of the Cricket committee, World Cricket committee and MCC Committee - agreed that it should be adjusted, with effect from 1st April 2019, to allow umpires to make a more subjective decision over which deliveries are dangerous."

The revision will be incorporated into the second Edition of the 2017 Code of Laws, and confirmed by early January 2019 ahead of universal adoption from April 1, 2019, in time for the new English season.