Howzat for these rule changes in cricket?

Kersi Meher-Homji Roar Rookie

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Rookie

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    Australian batsman Phil Hughes left the crease at the SCG unbeaten on 63. He will never be forgotten. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

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    Enough of rule changes, I imagine you mumble as you eat your cereal, laptop on the dining table browsing The Roar. But please, hear me out.

    A batsman is out – bowled, caught, stumped, lbw whatever – and is sadly returning to the dressing room. But wait a moment, the umpire has made a signal to the TV umpire. Was it a no-ball?

    After several replays we are informed that it was a no-ball, as the back of the bowler’s front foot was not behind the popping crease. The relieved batsman returns, not believing his good luck as the bowler stomps his guilty foot in disgust.

    This happens once or twice a day. The no-ball rule states that a part of the bowler’s front foot must be behind the popping crease. Even touching the popping crease is not good enough.

    This makes the umpire’s job extremely difficult. Remember, he has so many things to do; giving lbw and other hair-line decisions. Unless the bowler trespasses the popping crease by a few centimetres, human eye cannot notice for sure whether the back of the bowler’s front foot had landed behind the popping crease.

    What’s the solution? Here is my suggestion:

    Draw a parallel line 28 cms in front of the popping crease. It should have a metal-magnetic strip and thus be called the met-mag crease.

    The moment the bowler’s front foot touches this met-mag crease, there is an audible “ting” sound, as in tennis.

    To be honest, I am ignorant as to how this is to be achieved but if it can be done in tennis, it can be done in cricket. I suggest Channel Nine, Fox Sports, Cricket Australia and the ICC have a look at my revolutionary (or crazy) idea and consult tennis authorities as to whether this is possible and, if so, how to go about it.

    With new and amazing electronic technologies (snicko-metre, hawke-eye, etc.) now available, this should be experimented with. It is not an airy-fairy idea.

    If we have stump-cam in all internationals and stumps which appear to go in flames in BBL matches, why not a metallic-magnetic line 28cms ahead of the popping crease which goes “ting” every time the front of a bowler’s front shoe (also laced with met-mag) touches it?

    And what a heaven for umpires as also to the batsmen! The moment the batsman hears the “ting” sound he jumps out to hit it, knowing it is a no-ball without waiting for the umpire’s signal (which could be too late for the batsman to react).

    Another rule change as suggested by me:

    By the current rule, a batsman is not given out if the ball is pitched outside the leg stump, even if the ball would have hit the stumps but for the pad.

    If this is clearly outside the leg stump, the umpire is able to judge it and gives the batsman not out for lbw. But if it is a matter of few millimetres outside the leg stump, how can an umpire know for sure? This means another referral to the TV umpire and another waste of minutes.

    The TV ump has the advantage of an imaginary shaded area between the stumps; off-stump on one end to the on-stump on the other end and the other way round.

    My suggestion is: why not have such two vertical lines on the pitch to aid the on-field ump?

    (I realise this might be distracting for the batsmen – too many lines!)

    But if an umpire thinks the ball would have hit the stumps if it had not hit the pad first, why not give the batsman out even if it had landed outside the leg stump? Who started this illogical rule in the first place and why are we continuing with it?

    At the media dinner on Saturday (the third day of the Sydney Test), I asked some cricket journalists on this ruling, namely a batsman cannot be declared out lbw if the ball had landed outside the leg stump even though it would have hit the stumps, and the consensus of opinion was that it was a stupid rule and should be scrapped.

    What do you say; Spiro, David Lord … and other Roarers?

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (70)

    • January 9th 2013 @ 3:33am
      Johnno said | January 9th 2013 @ 3:33am | ! Report

      One rule change I would do, is make the bats not as wide like the 1980’s. Viv Richards made all those runs with a modified less wide bat.

      Coloured clothing would be good for test cricket.

      Disco bails , like in the T20 big bash.

      Keep DRS I like it.

      Allow each innings 2 subs, for bowlers . Meaning a bowler can go off and have a long rest , and come back on immediately, but only allow 2 per innings. And the player is only allowed to have a non sub penalty once.

      So for example, , the injury riddled Andrew Flintoff, would be allowed to go off once in the innings, with out penalty, can come back on and bowl straight away, with out having to wait for the amount of overs he was off.

      Keep tests to 5 days too, keeps the spinners like that sir lankan, one who is a 2nd innings specialist more in the game.

      Bonus runs too. For example if you make 75 runs after the 1st 15 overs, you get a bonus 20 runs, and if you say make 90 runs, you re-get one of your wickets back.

      For Example:

      Dave Warner goes on a slog, or a Chris Gayle , or an Adam Gilchrist type, . And if after 15 overs you are 2/90 or 3/90, you then get one of your wickets back , so go from 2/90 to 1/90 again. Rewarded for your positive play. You could be 4/90, then go back down to 3/90.

      Anything to encourage attacking cricket.

      And someone said yesterday, the “WTF OMG LOL Generation” will ruin test cricket as they will get bored of T20 soon, therefore abandoning test cricket.
      Well I say if test cricket doesn’t appeal more to this generation, test cricket will die within 20 years around the year 2030, as the baby boomer generation will die off, and the “WTF OMG LOL Generation”, and there children will be the generations left to carry the baton, so test cricket has to appeal to this generation or broader audience or it will die off as a sport.

      Like the sheffield shield, test cricket can’t survive long term if the crowds, and tv ratings and few countries playing test cricket stay down. Irleand is a big hope, they are trying to get Full test status by 2020. They are setting up a 1st class scene, now have centralised contracts, there hitting there straps a bit, and are getting some ICC funding, and private investment and sponsors.

      Either way test cricket has to change and innovate to attract the “wtf, omg, lol generation” as the baby boomers will phase out soon.

      Heck try power plays in test cricket.

      Bring back big cahs rewards , like in the 90’s hitting the old Mercantile Mutual signs on the full, in the old Mercantile Mutual cup.

      And have cash prizes like $200,000 if you hit the sign on the full or $500,000 . Or a $1 million cash bonus if the player hits the sign twice in the season. Just be innovative.

      And commentary have to funk it up too, whether that’s channel 9 or channel 10.
      Have younger tv commentators, so bored of hearing about the 70’s via Ian Chappelli, and the 60’s by Bill Lawy.
      The 60’s and 70’s, free love and woodstock are over. Many of of the younger generation haven’t even of heard of woodstock.
      I love how Glen Mcgrath has freshened up the commentary, young 42 like Micheal slater, Mcgrath retired format he IPL in 2009 so is in touch with the game still. The others other than Brett Lee, and Micheal Slater I am now finding to out of touch with the game.

      Have like in T20, microphones on the player’s during the match so they can talk between overs, have a on the ground pitch reporter, like they do now in the AFL, NRL, and also in rugby and in T20 cricket.

      I’m really bored of all white clothing, i want national team uniforms, like all other sports too.

      Also penalise slow over rates more severely . If your behind at the end of the day, you concede 5 runs add on per over that you are behind in. So if your 10 overs behind on slow over rates, you have lost 50 runs.
      That will get the bowlers to hurry up, rather than petty small fines.

      And finally day night tests too are a must as long as, the ball is suitable. And more scrutiny by the ICC on the quality of pitches.
      Have like a rule set of minimum standards of what the pitch should be like, eg the levels of bounce, or grass on it etc.
      Lets end the roads and flat tracks in test cricket, that have been at grounds like the GABBA which for me used to be the best pitch in test cricket.

      Also a bit more flair at test cricket, i really wouldn’t object to cheerleaders, or loud ground announcers like at the footy and at T20 cricket. Just get it happening again more energy test cricket needs, and it needs to trial many new rules.

      And they should have more 3 day games for developing cricket countries between each other, and a good place to test new rules.
      And have developing nations each getting 1 T20 game a year vs a tier 1 team in other words the top 10.

      • Roar Guru

        January 9th 2013 @ 8:58am
        langou said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Another brilliant Johnno stream-of-nonsense post. I had a couple of LOLs and allot of WTFs reading that.

        Kersi, next media dinner at the SCG, you should throw a couple of Johnnos suggestions at your fellow journos – see how many support Test Batsman getting a wicket back for getting to 90 runs of 15 overs, if they disagree remind them that ‘Many of the younger generation haven’t even of heard of woodstock’.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 10:44am
        Felix said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        I sincerely hope you never have any decision making power bestowed upon you, Johnno, for that is beyond doubt the worst post I’ve read in years. Bravo you though.

        • January 9th 2013 @ 11:21am
          D.Large said | January 9th 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          I for one am fully supportive of disco balls at Test cricket! I couldn’t put my finger on why I had fallen out of love with the great game, but reading Johnno’s composed, rational arguments I can’t help but feel he needs to be promoted through the corridors of power at the ACB.

          In regard to the actual article, and excluding all of David Lord’s work it was one of the worst pieces of fluff I have ever read.

          • January 9th 2013 @ 11:41am
            Matt F said | January 9th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            I’ll defend Johnno a little bit here (never thought I’d say that!) He said disco bails not disco balls which I’m pretty sure is referring to the flashing stumps/bails from the BBL which actually would be very beneficial for run outs and stumpings.

            I’m not going anywhere near the rest of his comment though…….

            • January 9th 2013 @ 4:37pm
              matt h said | January 9th 2013 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

              There are actually a few good points in there. I’m no fan of bonuses for slogging or power plays, but most of the rest is strangely ok. Why are white clothes so bloody important? Why not bigger penalties for slow over rates? Is there any other team sport that does not allow subs? Why not day night cricket? And are we really able to defend the 9 commentary team?

              On the actual article. I think the LBW rule change is interesting but would have to be thought out clearly. You could end up with a stacked onside field and left arm spinners darting it in at the legs all day. Very negative cricket.

              The best rule change for mine would be to open up ODI and T20 cricket to all nations. Sure you can keep precious tests between only the top tier (although it should be made a little easier to get in – i.e. Ireland, Netherlands, Afghanistan and Scotland), but for the others why can’t the qualifications be more like football? Regionaly qualifiers for the world cup, etc.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 11:51am
        Russ said | January 9th 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        One of the early 20thC Wisden’s had a suggestion – panned by Sidney Parsons, the editor – from Fred Spofforth that the fielding team ought to get a run if they bowled a maiden. I’m not sure I’d go as far as advocating it, but it would certainly enliven the game.

        • January 9th 2013 @ 9:51pm
          Bri Olewale said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

          agree we need to think of putting in place incentives for the bowlers too maybe changing that LBW rule could be a good start

      • January 9th 2013 @ 3:00pm
        deccas said | January 9th 2013 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

        Johno stop trolling.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 4:50pm
        Farmerj said | January 9th 2013 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

        Surely this is a piddle take?

        Getting wickets back?

        Bored of white clothing?

        Canning the great Bill lawry for ‘Slats”

        Nah must be a joke

        • January 9th 2013 @ 5:06pm
          Johnno said | January 9th 2013 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

          Yes Farmerj, it’s called making test cricket more exciting, and appekaing to a wider audiences, and providing actual real incentives for attacking and bold pay.
          And I said only in the 1st 15 overs of an innings, why not trial these ideas .
          And Slats is like 30 plus years young than Bill Lawry, Slats was only finished in 2001, compared to Bill Lawry whose last test was 1971. A 30 year difference there. And I sam saying it’s not about slats, but i want younger commentators on 9.
          Bill lawry was long retired before even world series cricket came in he will be 76 this year, hardly a young man.
          And yes i am bored of white clothing, you tell me farmer j, what other sport can you think of where both teams wear the same uniform, I can’t think of 1.

          • January 9th 2013 @ 5:15pm
            Russ said | January 9th 2013 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            Wimbledon tennis. For much the same reason.

            Many old-school baseball teams still play in white, or nearly all white. Test cricket in colour doesn’t need to mean ODI cricket pyjamas. I could deal with a little green as on the Shield sides or the sweaters.

            • January 9th 2013 @ 8:06pm
              Johnno said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

              Russ , wimbeldon okay. And that is like 1 pro sports tournament in like how many in the World,. And test cricket, and wimbledon are both English with all this oldie world stuff. So if 1 tournament is all you got , then Russ tradiotinlists are in the extreme minority in pro sport.
              And baseball at the MLB level anyway all have there own individual uniforms anyway.
              They may have nearly all white uniforms , but they are still completely separate designs, just as in rugby, soccer, basketball etc.
              And they all , the MLB teams have alternate strips, where if the strips are similar the team will wear the alternate one in baseball.
              So it shows once agains how much of a minority, Test cricket, and the wimbledon tennis tournament are Russ in 2012.

              • January 9th 2013 @ 8:10pm
                Atawhai Drive said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

                Nurse! He’s out of bed again!

              • January 10th 2013 @ 1:08am
                Johnno said | January 10th 2013 @ 1:08am | ! Report

                Atawahai drive it seems you and many others are a rather conservative lot , and highly tradionislist when it comes to test cricket.

                Test cricket, and one tennis tournament a year are hardly the majority of market share in pro sport in the world, get a grip.
                2 teams wearing the same uniform are hardly the majority, no wonder test cricket has problems, it has too many fans like you and some others not all but some others, stuck in a time-warp . I call it the baby boomer generation, that will all fade away into the insignificance that it is within 20 years.
                So you can enjoy your whites, and your other so called traditionalist quirks . But up in heaven not on earth, which is where the baby boomer generation will be, and generation X,Y, and Z, will make life on earth more exciting , unlike dull sections of the baby boomer generation.
                And one way to funk it up is to make test cricket more funky, and exciting , and mainstream and more modern ,not traditional.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 7:42am
      Red Kev said | January 9th 2013 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      I say scrap the lot and bring back umpires like Hair who trust their own judgement and make the call on field.
      As it stands now umpires don’t make calls and push the onus onto the players to adjudicate. DRS is a nice idea but utterly crap as currently implemented.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 7:50am
      Boomer said | January 9th 2013 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Ah, the machine that goes Ping!


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      • January 9th 2013 @ 9:02am
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        New ideas are ridiculed, Boomer and it does not worry me. I was the first one to suggest a TV umpire to adjudge on hair-line decisions and was ridiculed then. (I have a letter to the editor SMH to suggest the TV umpire idea, to prove that I am not making this up now).

        Again “Ah, on machine that goes Ping”, it has worked in tennis so why not in cricket? No time-wasting referrals, if technology can be worked out.

        • Roar Pro

          January 9th 2013 @ 10:03am
          Adam Ludeke said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          I think that tennis machine was called ‘Cyclops’? It’s been gone for a while now though, replaced by Hawk Eye.

          • January 9th 2013 @ 10:09am
            Chop said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            Actually the PING in tennis is when the ball touches the net and still exists, the sound is just send to the umpire so idiots don’t whistle everytime it goes off.

        • Roar Guru

          January 9th 2013 @ 10:26am
          langou said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          Kersi, I wouldn’t start an argument with Boomer – he charges one pound for a five minute argument, or eight pounds for a course of ten.

          • January 9th 2013 @ 11:15am
            Pope Paul VII said | January 9th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            In my day we were too poor to have arguments

      • January 9th 2013 @ 9:15am
        Happy Hooker said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        That’s Gold Boomer, well done!

    • January 9th 2013 @ 8:07am
      Allanthus said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Kersi, while you and your cricket journalist mates might not like the LBW rule, scrapping the not out for pitching outside leg will only make things worse. Professional sportsmen and coaches, in all sports, latch onto rules and loopholes in those rules that they can exploit, to develop an edge. Sometimes evolution is good, new skills/tactics are developed, but I can’t see this working.

      No question we will have bowlers taking a line from wide on the crease, aiming at leg stump. That would look very ugly, severely limit the range of shots able to be played, and be very hard to defend against. If the batsman changes the line of his stance to better deal with the ball from wide out on his leg side, he would then be way out of position if the bowler suddenly delivers from closer to the stumps.

      The only way it could work is if the crease was narrowed. But really, it works fine as it is, the bowler can use the crease and bowl from wide if he wishes, but the trade off is no LBW for pitching outside leg. Which seems fair enough to me.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 8:29am
      Chui said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Something far simpler would be to change the front foot so that only a part of the foot must be on the line, not behind it. It would be easier for an umpire to see a gap between the line and a white boot than judging if some part of the boot is behind the line at all.

    • January 9th 2013 @ 8:55am
      Kersi Meher-Homji said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      I agree with you, Chui.

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