Most people who take more than a passing interest will know cricket is different from most games; it’s played without rules or sportsmanship. Indeed, we instead have the Laws of Cricket and it’s all-seeing sibling the Spirit of Cricket. The Laws are there to tell us what we can and can’t do, the Spirit is how to conduct ourselves. It’s perhaps not so different then, it just has grander names. All part of its unique appeal.
In a recent review conducted by an MCC working committee both the Laws and the Spirit have recently undergone a modernisation of sorts. The previous set of Laws weren’t quite as outdated as the Magna Carta but nevertheless some oddities had survived long past their age of usefulness and required a refresh. The Spirit is largely unchanged, it now contains more twentyfirst century positivity and less medieval negativity, but essentially it’s the same message of fair play.
If you’ve come this far you’ll already know what it’s about.
It’s the Law changes that will get umpires and scorers doing different things from this season. And more than the odd bowler might breathe a sigh of relief that someone out there has their back.
Here’s a summary of the main changes to take effect from 1 October:
- Handled ball dismissal. Gone. The offence remains but it’s called Obstructing the Field.
- Lost ball. Gone. There’s no such thing. It’s simply dead.
- Bats have to come from trees not railway lines.
- Substitute fielders can keep wicket.
- Batsmen can’t be run out if they dive and the bat bounces after already grounding it behind the popping crease.
- Run outs at the non-strikers end can occur if the batsman leaves their ground before the bowler would normally deliver the ball (what the Spirit says about this is yet to be tested).
- No Balls where additional runs occur without hitting any part of the batsman are now called No Ball Byes. The Byes are counted separately in the extra’s column.
- No Balls where additional runs occur after contact with the batsman, other than his bat or gloves, are now called No Ball Leg Byes. The Leg Byes are counted separately in the extra’s column.
- In addition to the awarding of penalty runs, poor player behaviour can result in a player being suspended from the field temporarily, or if it’s really bad then removal from taking further part in the match. If it’s the captain that’s the offender, then the umpires can call off the match and award the result to the other team.
The changes stop short of umpires carrying coloured cards or whistles in their pockets. The Law still relies on its instruction being given through conversation and hand signals. The Spirit still expects it’s a game played by Gentlemen and Ladies.
So if you see an unusual hand signal on the field this summer, don’t worry it’s not offensive. Unless you see a player leave the field; it’s probably just a new type of No Ball.
To make sure you can accurately record extras in accordance with the new ICC rules, we’ll be releasing updates to CricHQ Scoring in October 2017. Download CricHQ for iOS or Android and keep your app up-to-date.