As has always been the practice, changes to the playing conditions for Tests, One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) take effect from Saturday 1 October, the ICC has confirmed.
The amendments have been approved by the ICC Executive Board following proposals made by the ICC Cricket Committee at its meeting in London in May.
It is important to note that the playing conditions are applicable to international cricket and must be read together with the Laws of Cricket. Whilst a playing condition may have the effect of amending the Laws of Cricket as they may apply to international cricket these changes are not amendments to the Laws of Cricket themselves.
In particular it should be noted that the changes to the playing conditions in relation to runners and to the running out of the non-striker, as set out below, are only applicable to international cricket.
The amendments to the playing conditions are:
Two new balls per innings (ODIs only)
“Each fielding team shall have two new balls for its innings, to be used in alternate overs, i.e. one from each end.” (Clause 5.2)
Powerplays (ODIs only)
Whilst the total number of powerplay overs remain at 20 per innings with the first block of 10 being at the commencement of the innings (for an uninterrupted match), the remaining second and third block of powerplay overs (blocks of five overs for an uninterrupted match) may not be taken so as to commence earlier than the 16th over nor be completed later than the 40th over (Clause 41.2.5).
This restriction will not apply for reduced innings of scheduled duration of less than 40 overs.
Obstructing the field (Tests, ODIs and T20Is)
A new playing condition has been introduced clarifying that on appeal from the fielding team, if the umpire feels that a batsman, whilst running between the wickets, has significantly changed his direction without probable cause thereby obstructing a fielder’s attempt to run him out, the batsman should be given out obstructing the field. It shall not be relevant whether a run out would have been affected or not (Clause 37).
It should be noted that this playing condition enhances Law 37 and does not replace it.
The circumstances described in the new playing condition (i.e. a batsman significantly changing his direction of running without probable cause) are only one example of an action which will qualify as willfully obstructing the field. Accordingly, it is still possible for a batsman to be given out obstructing the field in circumstances where he has not significantly changed his direction of running provided that the umpire feels that by some other actions it is clear that the batsman had intended to obstruct the field. This will depend on the circumstances of each case.
In making a decision in this regard, the on-field umpires are entitled to consult the third umpire in deciding whether the obstruction was willful or not with the final decision being made and conveyed by the relevant on-field umpire (Clause 2.4 of the relevant appendices of the DRS or TV replay system).
Runners (Tests, ODIs and T20Is)
“A runner for a batsman shall not be permitted” (Clause 2.1).
Unless nine wickets are down, the injured or ill batsman has the option of retiring hurt and returning to bat at a later stage should the need and/or opportunity arise.
Calculation of the period for which an injured or ill player who has been absent from the field shall not be permitted to bowl or bat i.e. penalty time (Tests, ODIs and T20Is)
A playing condition has been introduced to clarify that if at the commencement of an interruption in play through ground, weather or light conditions or for other exceptional circumstances, a player is on the field but still has some unexpired penalty time remaining from a previous absence, he shall automatically be allowed to count any such stoppage time as playing time (Clause 2.2.2)
Bowler attempting to run-out non-striker before delivery (Tests, ODIs and T20Is)
Previously, the bowler could only run out a non-striker backing up if he did so before he had entered his delivery stride. This meant that as the bowler’s back foot landed, the non-striker could move down the wicket before the bowler actually delivered the ball, gaining an unfair advantage.
The following new playing condition 42.11 addresses this point and reads as follows:
“The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.”
It should be noted that umpires shall deem the bowler to have completed his delivery swing once his bowling arm passes the normal point of ball release.
Extra time to complete a match (Tests only)
The standard Test match playing conditions (Clause 16.2.2) now provide that:
“The umpires may decide to play 15 minutes (a minimum of four overs) extra time at the scheduled lunch or tea interval of any day if requested by either captain if, in the umpires’ opinion, it would bring about a definite result in that session. If the umpires do not believe a result can be achieved no extra time shall be allowed.
“If it is decided to play such extra time, the whole period shall be played out even though the possibility of finishing the match may have disappeared before the full period has expired.
“Only the actual amount of playing time up to the maximum 15 minutes extra time by which play is extended on any day shall be deducted from the total number of hours of play remaining, and the following session of play shall be reduced by the amount of time by which play was previously extended under this clause.”
Delay of lunch interval when nine wickets down (Tests only):
As is currently the case with tea interval, the playing conditions now provide that if nine wickets are down at the time of the scheduled lunch interval, the interval shall be delayed by a maximum of 30 minutes (Clause 15.2).
Duration of interval between innings (ODIs only)
The minimum interval for an uninterrupted ODI match has been increased from 20 minutes to 30 minutes (Clause 12.4.1 (b)).
The ICC Cricket Committee that met in May and made the recommendations that have been adopted was chaired by former West Indies captain and ICC Cricket World Cup winner Clive Lloyd and included former Australia captain Mark Taylor and Ravi Shastri, the ex-India captain, and New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive (NZC) Justin Vaughan.
It also featured Keith Bradshaw, MCC Secretary and Chief Executive, Steve Davis of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, chief ICC match referee and former Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madugalle, Trent Johnston, former Ireland captain, Gary Kirsten, the ex-South Africa opener who coached India to ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 victory and is currently South Africa coach, former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop, Tim May, former Australia off-spinner and the Chief Executive of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, former England women’s team captain Clare Connor, and David Kendix, a statistician/scorer and the man responsible for the creation and development of the Reliance ICC Rankings who has been nominated by the ICC to sit on the committee.
The ICC Cricket Committee meeting was administered by ICC General Manager – Cricket, David Richardson, and also included ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat as ex-officio.