The MCC Committee has announced that, from 1 October 2013, the bowler breaking the stumps during the act of delivery shall be called a No ball.
MCC has decided to introduce the new Law - following the latest meeting of its Committee on Wednesday 20 February - after several recent incidents involving England’s Steven Finn repeatedly breaking the wicket at the bowler’s end during his delivery stride.
The Laws are currently silent on this issue, although Law 23.4(b)(vi) allows the umpire to call and signal Dead ball if the striker is distracted.
The on field umpires first ruled the disturbance of the stumps by Finn as a Dead ball during the second Test between England and South Africa at Headingley in August 2012.
Since then, there has been a great deal of debate on the subject within MCC, by the ICC and from the wider cricketing world, leading to this announcement.
MCC Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said: "MCC continues to act as a robust Guardian of the Laws of Cricket, and must ensure that it consults widely within the amateur and professional game before making changes that will affect anyone who plays the game.
"MCC’s decision today to make the breaking of the stumps during the act of delivery a No ball provides clarity to the situation and removes the need for a subjective assessment to be made by the umpire as to whether the striker has been genuinely distracted or not.
"It also ensures that the striker will still be credited with any runs that he scores from the delivery, and will act as a significant disincentive to the bowler from doing it."
The MCC Laws sub-committee – which includes former international umpire Simon Taufel and ICC Chief Executive David Richardson – and the MCC Cricket committee have discussed the matter at length. Upon their recommendations, the MCC Committee has amended the No ball Law accordingly.
The 2000 Code 5th Edition – 2013 of the Laws of Cricket will come into force on October 1 this year and will feature the new No ball Law.
In the interim period, the ICC (opens in a new window) may consider introducing a playing condition for international cricket to state that a No ball should be called if the bowler breaks the stumps during the act of delivery.
MCC was founded in 1787 and its first code of Laws was adopted in May 1788. The Club continues to own the Laws – and act as the guardian of the Spirit of Cricket – today.