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MCC's World Cricket committee has called for ICC to state its long-term vision for cricket after its second meeting of 2014 at Lord's this week.
The committee, chaired by Mike Brearley and featuring the likes of Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid and Shaun Pollock also spoke out on subjects such as corruption, bat sizes and illegal bowling actions at the meeting which took place on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 July.
Read their full statements below:
ICC should state its long-term vision for the good of the game
The World Cricket committee heard contrasting presentations from ECB Chairman Giles Clarke and Ehsan Mani, former President of ICC, on the restructure of the International Cricket Council and the global governance of the game.
The committee subsequently discussed the potential effect this restructure will have on the game and believes that the ICC, in its new guise, needs to create a long-term strategy to deliver positive change for cricket in the years ahead. The ICC’s current Strategic Plan ends in 2015.
The Boards of Australia, England and India joined forces earlier this year to make material changes to the structure of the ICC.
The World Cricket committee believes that with this power comes responsibility for the good of the game, which should be allied to a clear vision.
The committee believes that the approved changes concerning the promotion and protection of Test cricket - namely the potential for an ICC Associate member country to play Test cricket in the future, and the creation of a Test Match fund to distribute to the other seven full members - are positive developments.
However, the inequality of the “contribution costs” that will be paid to ICC Full member countries is a matter of concern for the committee.
Australia, England and India will receive a substantially larger proportion than the other seven full members of revenues generated from ICC events held between 2016 and 2023.
As a result, there is a real prospect that the strong will get stronger, to the detriment of competition in the game. The committee recognises it is too early to judge adequately the effect of this disparity in payments to member countries.
The committee also believes that transparent monitoring of the new structure needs to be introduced. It proposes four-yearly reviews to measure progress and fairness in the way ICC conducts its affairs.
Whilst it is impossible for the committee to judge the motives of Australia, England and India in their actions, it accepts that change of some form was required at the ICC. The committee wants to ensure review processes are set up and adhered to, in order to ensure the health of all ICC members.
A full-time role is required to lead the fight against corruption
The World Cricket committee wants to see improved communication and multi-jurisdictional co-operation between ICC Member Boards to improve the fight against corruption in the game.
Aware that the ICC is currently reviewing its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), the committee believes that a full-time appointment will go a long way to improve effectiveness across the globe to reduce corruption.
The threat of corruption is constant in the game, particularly so in domestic televised cricket, and it is believed that approaches to players are still being attempted.
The ACSU needs to be able to ensure that individual boards work together to increase the collective database of information relating to these approaches. The appointment of a full-time leader will ensure that it is better positioned to communicate more effectively the work and successes of the unit.
The ICC's review of the ACSU is crucial - with the right structure, systems and leadership in place, and ensuring that the budget is sufficient, the game will be better placed to deal with this major problem.
Waugh on corruption
Charlotte Edwards presented an update on the women’s international game, including a report on her participation in the MCC Women v Rest of the World Women’s match held at Lord’s earlier this season.
The committee was delighted with recent advancements being made in the women’s game, and sees it as an area with great potential for growth around the world.
Bat sizes to remain unchanged in the Laws for now
The World Cricket committee discussed research recently commissioned by the Club relating to the size of modern bats and, with mixed views in the room, has decided that the balance between bat and ball has not yet tipped so far in favour of the batsman so as to warrant a change to the Laws of Cricket.
MCC had asked Imperial College London to study the size of cricket bats through the decades, with specific reference to the thickness of bat edges and depths. This report, which can be read here, demonstrates that modern bats have bigger sweet spots, with much larger edges, and that the ball goes further when hit closer to the edge.
In addition, research carried out on One Day Internationals played since 1979 shows that the numbers of boundaries – and especially of sixes – being hit in each innings has increased dramatically in the intervening period.
Read the research
The committee debated the pros and cons of such an increase in sixes, such as how boundaries were good for those watching the game both in the ground and on TV, as against the apparent prevalence of mis-hits now going against the bowler by clearing the boundary ropes.
The committee also discussed the importance for boundaries themselves to be pushed out as far as possible – within health and safety regulations – to further prevent bowlers from being disadvantaged.
With no consensus, the committee ruled that MCC should not look to limit the edges and depths of cricket bats within the Laws at this stage, but should continue to monitor this aspect of the game closely.
Strauss on bat size
Running out the non-striker: Law is clear and the act is not against the Spirit of Cricket
The World Cricket committee reviewed the Law relating to running out the non-striker, in light of the dismissal of Jos Buttler in May's ODI series between England and Sri Lanka. It was unequivocal in its belief that the Law, as written, does not require any alteration.
The unanimous view of the committee was that if the non-striker is out of his ground earlier than allowed in either the Laws of Cricket or the International Playing Conditions, then he can have no complaints should he be dismissed in this manner.
Furthermore, the committee believes it was not against the Spirit of Cricket to uphold such an appeal, and urges batsmen to ensure they do not try to gain an unfair advantage by moving out of their crease before the appropriate time.
Running out the Non-striker
Whilst it is unfortunate for Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake that he has been suspended from bowling, it is a credit to the system that he was reported and tested promptly.
Committee members had serious concerns on this subject generally, regarding it as one of the sport’s major issues, and hoped that the continued joint ICC/MCC research into wearable sensors would soon be a workable option for match conditions.
In the meantime, it called for vigilance and strength from the umpires to report players whose bowling actions were questionable.
Mike Brearley thanks outgoing committee members
Chairman of World Cricket committee, Mike Brearley, thanked Steve Waugh and Majid Khan for their huge contribution to the committee since its inception in 2006, highlighting in particular the work, time and effort they had devoted to help in the fight against corruption in the game.
Waugh on the committee
The MCC World Cricket committee is funded and administered by MCC and reports to the MCC Committee. However, it is, and was set up to be, an independent body. Its members, all of whom have been involved in international cricket at the top level, come from many different countries. Each person is there in his or her own right, not as a representative of other bodies.
MCC World Cricket committee statements should not be seen as coming from MCC itself. It is a sign of strength that MCC can allow such a committee to be independent – of ICC, of ECB, of PCA or any other organisation, including MCC itself.