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Easy Read Summary of ECB Law Changes
25 Apr 2018
Summary of key changes to the laws of cricket from a player’s perspective (in law order)
➢ From 2020, added restrictions on bat dimensions (max thickness of 40mm and overall depth of 67mm).
➢ Should a batsman deliberately run short, 5 penalty runs are awarded to the fielding side.
➢ Sightscreens on the field of play will now need to have an area marked out which covers every possible position during play, so that the boundary does not change when it is moved.
➢ All airborne fielders making their first contact with the ball will need to have taken off from within the boundary, otherwise a boundary is scored.
➢ If an animal or spectator enters the field of play and touches the ball, the Umpires are to decide whether a boundary would have been scored.
➢ It’s a No Ball if the ball bounces more than once (not twice) before reaching the Popping Crease, if the ball pitches wide of the pitch, or if a ball bounces over head height of the striker, when standing upright at the Popping Crease.
➢ A substitute may now act as wicket keeper with the Umpires consent (unless the wicket keeper has committed a Level 3 or 4 offence).
➢ If a fielder fails to take the field at the start of play, or leaves the field during play, then unless in exceptional circumstances or an external injury, that player will incur Penalty time equivalent to the total time spent off the field (up to a maximum of 90 minutes), which is the time he will have to spend on the field before being able to bowl or, if the innings ended meanwhile, bat. Note, a player cannot bat until his Penalty time has been served or until his team has lost 5 wickets.
➢ A runner must stay behind the Popping Crease until the ball reaches the Injured Striker, otherwise any runs will be disallowed (as per illegal leg byes).
➢ Between the call of Play and Time, no bowling practice may take place in the area between the square and the boundary in a direction parallel to the match pitch.
➢ If a batsman grounds the bat (held in the hand) or any part of his person, and provided that the batsman has continued forward momentum, and subsequently inadvertently loses his contact with the ground when the wicket is put down, the batsman is protected from being Run Out.
➢ A ball can now be Caught after it strikes, or becomes lodged in a helmet worn by a fielder or the wicket keeper.
➢ A batsman can now be Run Out if the ball rebounds directly from a fielder’s helmet onto the stumps, or Stumped if the ball rebounds off the wicket keeper’s helmet.
➢ Any cloth used to dry the ball must now have the approval of the Umpires.
➢ If the Umpires deem that the condition of the ball has been unfairly changed, the opposing side will now have the option to replace the ball or not. Further, if this happens a second time, the bowler who bowled the previous ball will be suspended for the remained of the innings. (Reportable offence.)
➢ Should a fielder deliberately distract the batsmen before he faces a delivery (for example by talking during the bowler’s run up), 5 Penalty Runs will be awarded to the batting side and the batsman cannot be dismissed. (Reportable offence.)
➢ Should a fielder deliberately distract or deceive the batsmen after he faces a delivery (for example by mock fielding, where a fielder feigns to field the ball and / or to throw a non-existent ball to prevent the batsmen running), 5 Penalty Runs are awarded to the batting side and the batsman cannot be dismissed. (Reportable offence.)
➢ For bouncers aimed at the body or head of the Striker, repetition is no longer a pre-requisite for a delivery to be deemed dangerous.
➢ Any non-pitching delivery, irrespective of speed, which passes above waist height of the upright Striker at the Popping Crease will be deemed dangerous and unfair, and will trigger sanctions.
➢ Actions taken against bouncers and beamers will now be separated, and there is a reduced level of tolerance. The first bouncer deemed dangerous or beamer will now receive a first and final warning, A second offence will result in the bowler’s suspension for the remainder of the innings. (Reportable offence.)
➢ The bowling of a deliberate front foot No Ball will now lead to an immediate suspension for the remainder of the innings. (Reportable offence.)
➢ A batsman cannot take guard within the protected area, or so close to it that he would usually encroach it when playing the ball.
➢ The Non- Striker can now be Run Out by the Bowler up to the instant at which the bowler would be expected to deliver the ball. (Previously, it was when the Bowler entered his delivery stride.)
➢ 4 different levels of offences have been created, with Level 4 being the most serious. In all 4 cases, the Umpire will call Time and summon the relevant Captain to inform him of the breach and associated Penalty. Further, all breaches are now reportable offences.
➢ Level 1: (includes, but not limited to showing dissent at an Umpire, offensive language or gesture, excessive appealing or wilful mistreatment of ground or equipment), will receive a first and final warning, which applies to the entire team. A second offence will result in 5 Penalty Runs being awarded to the opposing side.
➢ Level 2: (includes, but not limited to serious dissent to an Umpire, inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with another player, throwing the ball at a player or Umpire or language or gesture deemed obscene or seriously insulting) results in the immediate award of 5 Penalty Runs to the opposing side.
➢ Level 3: (includes, but not limited to intimidation of an Umpire by word or gesture or threatening to assault a player or any other person except an Umpire) results in the offending player being suspended for a number of overs depending on the length of the match (usually a fifth of the original innings), plus the immediate award of 5 Penalty Runs to the opposing side. If he is a fielder, no substitute is allowed. Further, if the innings closes before his suspension is complete, he cannot then bat until it is. If a batsman, then he can only return after that period and then when a wicket falls (he cannot be a runner either). If there are no further batsman is available during the batsman’s suspension, the innings is completed.
➢ Level 4: (includes, but not limited to threatening to assault an Umpire, inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with an Umpire, physically assaulting another player or other person or any other act of violence) will result in the immediate removal from the field of play for the remainder of the match the award of 5 Penalty Runs to the opposing side.
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