Five rules the ICC should change including doing away with the toss in Tests

Adithya Sundar 21:30 15/10/2019
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Kiwis lost the World Cup on boundary count after a tied Super Over. Image - (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) changed the Super Over rule this week, scrapping the boundary count-back rule.

Hereon, if the teams were to score the same number of runs in their Super Overs, the Super Over will be repeated until one team wins outright. A statement from the ICC said that the change is “in keeping with the basic principle of scoring more runs than the opponent to win.”

Here are five other rules that the ICC could consider modifying to maintain balance between bat and ball.

Scrapping Leg Byes & Byes in T20Is

T20 is a format that heavily favours the batsman. With short boundaries, flat pitches and field restrictions there is very little going for the bowlers. So in the case of a batsman being completely beaten by a bowler or is struck on the body after failing to make contact with the bat, he could be allowed to crossover without taking the run into account.

That way the bowler doesn’t feel hard done by when he gets the better of the batsman with a legitimate delivery. In the shortest format alone, only wides and no-balls could be considered as extras.

Allowing umpires to oversee ‘Mankading’

Every time a bowler removes the bails at the non-striker’s end without delivering the ball to catch the runner out of his crease, the spirit of cricket seemingly takes a beating. Ravichandran Ashwin was admonished in IPL 2019, for mankading Jos Buttler when he was actually well within his rights as per the rules.

Not everyone is as courteous as Courtney Walsh who refused to remove the bails in his delivery stride to dismiss Pakistan’s No11 batsman Saleem Jaffar in a group game at the 1987 World Cup. Windies ended up losing the match by one wicket.

Officials on and off the field can be employed to issue warnings to players who step out of the crease at the non-striker’s end before the bowler delivers. That way the decision is with the umpire to rule a batsman out after a warning and fielding teams needn’t worry about their moral compass going askew.

No toss in Tests

The playing surfaces in Test matches are largely prepared to suit the strengths of the host nation. From Australia’s bouncy pitches to the dust bowls in the subcontinent, every home team ensures that their bowlers have an edge going into the game.

This could be nullified by doing away with the toss and allowing the visiting team to choose. Away sides struggle to win in places like India, England, Australia and New Zealand and by giving them the option, it could help make for more of an even contest.

The ICC did consider making this move in 2017 but they didn’t go through with it, as they reasoned that it would mean abolishing one of the integral aspects of Test cricket since it began in 1877 and that Tests would be robbed of the drama that surrounds a toss.

No runs off a Freehit if batsman is out

If a bowler were to deliver a no-ball, the batsman gets a free pass off the next delivery and can be dismissed only through a run out. While the bowler cannot get the batsman out in a freehit, the batsman is allowed to steal runs even if he is caught or bowled off the delivery.

The rule can be tweaked in such a way that, though the batsman cannot be declared out off a freehit, any runs taken off the delivery should be considered invalid if he were to be caught by a fielder or bowled.

Overthrow ricochets

Ben Stokes
While one rule that prevented the Kiwis from winning the World Cup final has been changed, there is another that needs to be looked at. During the 50th over of the England innings in the 2019 World Cup final, a throw from the deep ricocheted off Ben Stokes’ bat and rolled away to the boundary.

England were awarded six runs which changed the complexion of the match that ended in a tie. While it isn’t deliberate to be ruled as obstruction, the ball can be declared dead once it hits the part of the bat or the batsman and any run taken after that should be deemed invalid.

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Aiden Markram's Asian woes - South African opener's torrid run in the subcontinent continues

Adithya Sundar 11:54 15/10/2019
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Markram is the 5th batsman to bag a pair in India.

Aiden Markram captained the South Africa-A side on its tour to India this year and scored a stroke-filled knock of 161 during the second, unofficial Test in Mysore.

Just before the ongoing Test series against India began, he smacked another ton in the practice game in Vizianagaram against a Board President’s XI. Markram reached three figures off just 118 deliveries and retired hurt to give the rest of the batting some practice.

In the same game, Rohit Sharma was auditioning for the opening spot for India in the Test arena and was dismissed for a duck off two deliveries.

How the roles have reversed.

Markram is highly rated in South Africa and has shown promise in his fledgling career, with an average of 40.05 after 19 games. However, his record in Asia is extremely poor as he has scored a mere 94 runs in his eight innings, at an average of 11.75. His score of 39 in Visakhapatnam in the second innings of the first Test against India is his highest in the subcontinent.

The 25-year-old could have possibly avoided a pair in the second Test in Pune had he opted to review in the second innings after he was adjudged LBW in the opening over.

Markram is yet to score a century away from home.

Markram is yet to score a century away from home.

He was dismissed in the first innings in identical fashion, missing an inswinger from Umesh Yadav and that could have influenced the opening pair’s decision to not review in the second innings, when Ishant Sharma struck Markram’s pads with a similar delivery. Replays suggested that the ball would have missed the stumps.

Nevertheless, Markram became only the third South African opener to bag a duck in each innings after Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten. Gibbs has suffered the ignominy twice, both occasions coming against the West Indies.

South Africa’s opening pair of Markram and Dean Elgar have managed only one 50-run first wicket partnership in 2019 and their last 11 opening partnerships in Tests make for horrific reading: 4, 6, 24, 0, 36, 15, 10, 14, 4, 2, 0.

The 25-year-old, who was the captain of the U-19 South African team when they won the World Cup in 2014, is certainly talented. Among Test openers, only Dimuth Karunaratne has scored more runs (1,546) than Markram (1,402) since the South African made his debut.

However, most of those runs have come at home and in order to fulfill his promise, Markram needs to prove his mettle on tours as well. Ranchi presents one more chance for the opener to redeem himself when South Africa take on India in the third and final Test of the series.

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ICC scraps boundary count rule with Super Over to now be repeated until clear winner emerges

Sport360 staff 22:12 14/10/2019
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Three months after the 2019 World Cup final was decided by boundary count, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has made changes to the Super Over rule for all its major events.

At the end of a tied super over in the final at Lord’s, England were declared winners on the basis of scoring more boundaries (fours and sixes) in its allotted 50 overs and the Super Over combined, much to the ire of the New Zealand fans.

Following that thrilling yet controversial final, the ICC has finally made changes to the rule and in case a situation arises where both teams are tied even after the Super Over in a final or semi-final, the Super Over will be repeated until there is a clear winner.

This rule was recently implemented in domestic T20 leagues like the Caribbean Premier League and now the ICC is following suit.

“Following on from a recommendation from the ICC Cricket Committee, the Chief Executives’ Committee agreed that use of the Super Over as a way to decide results at ICC events will be retained. Both the Cricket Committee and CEC agreed it was an exciting and engaging conclusion to the game and will remain in place covering all games at both ODI and T20I World Cups,” the ICC said after its board meeting.

“In group stages, if the Super Over is tied, the match will be tied. In semifinals and finals, there is one change to the Super Over regulation in keeping with the basic principle of scoring more runs than the opponent to win, the Super Over will be repeated until one team has more runs than the other.”

The board also decided that the eight-year cycle commencing in 2023 will comprise eight men’s events, eight women’s events, four men’s U19 events and four women’s U19 events.

“In examining a whole range of options, the Board felt a major men’s and women’s event each year will bring consistency to our calendar whilst complementing bilateral cricket, giving our sport a strong future foundation,” said ICC chairman Shashank Manohar.

“It will provide clear structure and context to enable the growth of the sport and greater engagement opportunities for all of our stakeholders. The move towards a bidding model will give equal opportunities to all members to host ICC events post 2023.”

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