MCC restricts bat sizes; proposes on-field sanctions

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The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), on Monday (March 6), announced the bat size limits as well as sanctions for on-field misconduct. The new rules give umpires the authority to send players off the field for poor behaviour and will be implemented from October 1 this year.

Aimed at balancing the game, the bat now cannot be more than 108mm in width, 67mm in depth with 40mm edges. Bat gauges will be used to determine of the batsman has exceeded the limit. The new regulations for bats have been framed after the MCC consulted the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, International Cricket Council, MCC World Cricket committee, umpires’ associations and other global governing bodies.

The MCC also introduces four levels of sanction for substandard behavior on the field. If a player is charged with a Level 3 or Level 4 offence by the on-field umpire, the player can be temporarily or permanently removed from the match in addition to a five-run penalty. Level 1 charge will include a warning and a five-run penalty if the players commits the same mistake again. The Level 2 charges will see the team being handed a five-run penalty immediately.

John Stephenson, the MCC’s head of cricket, said that these charges will act as deterrent to the players. “We felt the time had come to introduce sanctions for poor player behaviour and research told us that a growing number of umpires at grass roots level were leaving the game because of it,” he said. “Hopefully these sanctions will give them more confidence to handle disciplinary issues efficiently, whilst providing a deterrent to the players.

“The bat size issue has been heavily scrutinised and discussed in recent years. We believe the maximum dimensions we have set will help redress the balance between bat and ball, while still allowing the explosive, big hitting we all enjoy.”

The ICC, though, is yet to accept the new regulations but is expected to do so, felt the MCC.

Umpire Sanctions under the new Code as stated by the MCC

Level 1

Offences include excessive appealing and showing dissent at an umpire’s decision. Following an official warning, a second Level 1 offence will result in five penalty runs being awarded to the opposing team.

Level 2

Offences (including throwing the ball at a player or making deliberate physical contact with an opponent during play), will result in the immediate awarding of five penalty runs to the opposing team.

Level 3

Offences (including intimidating an umpire or threatening to assault another player, team official or spectator) will result in five penalty runs and a removal of the offending player from the field for a set number of overs, depending on the format of the match.

Level 4

Offences (threatening an umpire or committing any act of violence on the field of play), will result in five penalty runs and the removal of the offending player for the remainder of the match. If the player is batting at the time of the offence, he/she will be recorded as ‘retired out’.