The MCC World Cricket committee met at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Sunday 11th and Monday 12th August 2019.
The main outcomes of the meeting are as follows:
The MCC World Cricket committee (WCC) discussed the state, and future, of Test cricket, which according to MCC’s Test Cricket survey in 2018/19 is still considered the pinnacle of the sport.
With the start of the ICC World Test Championship, the WCC is pleased to see it come to fruition as the committee has been supportive of the idea for many years. Over the course of this month, six teams will play their first fixtures and the league table will be starting to take shape. As the tournament develops, the WCC felt it was important that it is marketed well and audiences are educated around the new system and are excited about the way the ICC World Test Championship works, which gives context to the fixtures that take place around the world and throughout the year.
"this is an ideal platform for fans to engage with bilateral Test cricket"
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney, who presented to the World Cricket committee said:
“We are committed to ensuring all formats of the game are healthy and vibrant for the long term and that includes Test cricket.
"The World Test Championship provides relevance and context for the longest format of the sport and this is an ideal platform for fans to engage with bilateral Test cricket over two years culminating in the World Test Championship Final.
Cricket at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games
The WCC is pleased to see that Women’s T20 Cricket is likely to be included at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, having supported this in their last meeting in March.
Cricket’s inclusion was approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation executive in June and the result of the vote by the 71 member associations is expected imminently.
This is a hugely exciting opportunity to grow the women’s game and with matches taking place at Edgbaston – a venue with a strong cricketing fan base – the WCC expects there to be big crowds for the fixtures.
Cricket is also due to return to the Asian Games at Hangzhou 2022, likely again to be in T20 format. The WCC is excited to see cricket being introduced to, and gaining popularity in, new destinations. Including cricket at Hangzhou 2022 is the perfect opportunity to showcase the sport to the market in China.
There is still much to be done if cricket is to be included in the Olympics, with Los Angeles 2028 the earliest likely opportunity and the ICC continuing to work internally to align cricket to pursue the sport's Olympic ambitions.
Cricket in Pakistan
The WCC expressed its support in seeing the return of touring sides to Pakistan. Wasim Khan, the Managing Director of the Pakistan Cricket Board, was in attendance to present on cricket, the current security and political state in Pakistan. The committee discussed the conditions which would enable touring sides to return, with security analysis being a prerequisite. MCC will consider touring in the future.
Cricket in Sri Lanka
The WCC is looking forward to the England tour to Sri Lanka scheduled for March 2020.
Kumar Sangakkara, who is also President Designate of MCC, said:
“It is hugely important to support cricket in countries such as Sri Lanka, which is rebuilding following the tragic events on Easter Sunday. Cricket has the power to unite a country and the England tour will give fans a big moment to celebrate.
"It is a beautiful country to visit, and one of the best cricketing destinations in the world. The impact on the country as a whole, both socially and economically, will be immense. It has been good to welcome Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand, who have toured recently.”
The WCC intends to hold its next meeting in Sri Lanka in March 2020.
Dukes and Kookaburra both presented at the meeting.
As part of its role, the WCC monitors the balance between bat and ball. The WCC was heartened to hear of the ongoing research and development by both companies to improve the performance of cricket balls in all conditions.
Pace of play
The WCC renewed its calls for measures aimed at speeding up play to be introduced. A number of suggestions, including a countdown clock between overs and at the fall of wickets, were made after the previous meeting and the committee thinks these still are viable options. The committee noted the ICC’s steps to stop suspensions of the captains and to fine all the players more, as well as deduct points from the World Test Championship. The committee feels, however, that in-match five-run penalties would be the best deterrent to slow over rates. At Decision Review System referrals, attempts should be made to cut short any review as soon as it is known to be not out and, when the on-field decision is not out, fielders should return to their positions during the review, in readiness for the next ball, and no drinks should be brought onto the field.
The WCC discussed Law 19.8 in relation to overthrows, in the context of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Final. WCC felt that the Law was clear but the matter will be reviewed by the Laws sub-committee in September 2019.
The WCC welcomes the ICC’s introduction of replacements for players suffering from concussion. It is a positive step for the welfare of the players, particularly for this type of injury, which is serious but which often cannot be self-diagnosed.
Automated calling of No balls
The WCC welcomes the ICC’s recent announcement of further trials into the automated calling of No balls. It is something the committee has called for over recent years.
The committee also suggested that ball-tracking software should be used to help on-field umpires judge No balls over waist height and Wides over the batsman’s head. Such calls often prove to be difficult for umpires but would be relatively straightforward for technology to assist with.
Mike Gatting (Chairman), John Stephenson (MCC Head of Cricket). Shakib Al Hasan, Suzie Bates, Kumar Dharmasena, Sourav Ganguly, Tim May, Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting, Ramiz Raja, Kumar Sangakkara, Vince van der Bijl and Shane Warne.
About the MCC World Cricket 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.
The MCC World Cricket committee is an independent voice in world cricket, free from considerations of politics, money and race. It meets twice yearly. The committee’s debates and decisions are made solely in the interest of cricket and its players.
The committee is empowered to conduct research, particularly into technological advances and bio-mechanical elements of the game. MCC funds this work as part of its commitment to develop cricket worldwide. Every member of MCC’s World Cricket committee has up-to-date experience of cricket currently played at the professional level. Membership of the committee is voluntary and unpaid.