The MCC World Cricket committee met at Lord's on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 August. The following statements were released at the conclusion of the series.
The MCC World Cricket committee, which met at Lord’s on the 13th and 14th August, aims to assist ICC, whilst maintaining its independence, and give thought to the main issues facing the international game, primarily from a cricketing point ofatch
Watch: MCC Head of Cricket on the committee's meeting
The committee welcomed new members Michael Vaughan, Charlotte Edwards and Rod Marsh. Jimmy Adams (the other new member), along with Kumar Sangakkara, Martin Crowe and Steve Waugh, were unfortunately unable to attend but were able to provide comments in advance on many issues.
Governance of the game
The committee heard from Richard Sykes of PwC, one of the co-authors of the Woolf Review on Governance of the ICC, and congratulates the ICC on commissioning the Review and on making it public. In the discussion the committee held in mind the impact of governance on the game itself. The committee fully endorses the Woolf Report and hopes that more of the recommendations will be implemented in the future.
Structure of international cricket
There was a wide-ranging discussion on the impact of T20 cricket on the international game, in which the committee once again endorsed the primacy of Test cricket. However, the appeal of Test cricket will be lessened if the conflict with domestic T20 competitions is too stark; it is also threatened by small crowds and by players who are relatively poorly-paid for Test Match cricket. The committee’s view is that ICC should have more power to lead international cricket, including the responsibility for arranging the Future Tours Programme.
Day/night Test Match cricket
Following the ICC’s decision to allow countries to arrange and play day/night Test Matches, the committee reiterated its strong support for floodlit Tests in some carefully chosen venues. The committee believes that, if white clothing is considered a necessity for Test Matches, the pink ball, now much improved – as shown in the MCC v. Champion County matches in Abu Dhabi – is the best option. The committee suggests that the first day/night Test Match should be played in a country where attendances are currently poor, at grounds and times when there is little dew, and at an accessible venue. The committee also believes that a Test Championship will provide a better context for interest in Test cricket.
Charlotte Edwards made her debut The committee received a report from one of its new members, Charlotte Edwards, on the state of women’s cricket. The committee hopes that more Test cricket could be played around the world, whilst appreciating the way that Twenty20 double-headers have been very important for the profile of the game, both internationally and domestically. The two ICC World Cups (T20 costs. A robust accreditation process, as used in other sports, is needed in order to guarantee the quality of the technology used.
Corruption in cricket
Members reported on the anti-corruption measures being taken around the world. Many countries have an anti-corruption unit in existence but the committee believes it is crucial for each country to establish such a body. The committee supports the proposed Forum planned by ICC for domestic anti-corruption unit managers with the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit and would encourage all ICC Full Member countries to participate and share information. The MCC World Cricket committee, like ICC, is well aware of the risks of displacement by crooked fixers from international matches to domestic televised matches. The committee calls for mobile phones to be banned in dressing rooms for all domestic televised matches. Furthermore, the committee also congratulates ICC and many of the Boards for instituting codes of conduct, educative measures for players and administrators and staff at cricket clubs.
Decision Review System
The MCC World Cricket committee was addressed by Paul Hawkins, founder of Hawk-Eye, on the latest technology relating to the Decision Review System. The committee was impressed by the arguments about the accuracy of the predicted path and is solidly behind the use of technology. It hopes that the time will not be too far away when all countries will agree to its use, at which point a sponsor could be sought to support the costs. A robust accreditation process, as used in other sports, is needed in order to guarantee the quality of the technology used.
Cricket in China
The MCC World Cricket committee received a presentation from Rodney Miles, a former Chairman of Hong Kong Cricket Club and an expert on cricketing matters in the region, on the current state of cricket in China and its potential for development. The committee believes that China should be treated by the ICC as a special project, in view of its immense potential. The committee noted the dramatic success of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the ability for lesser-known sports to grab wider attention. The committee subsequently discussed the possibilities of cricket becoming an Olympic sport and believes this may be an important route for developing the game around the world and particularly in China.
MCC’s World Cricket committee discussed several Laws related issues:
i) The switch hit
Following a request from ICC’s Cricket Committee for MCC to undertake further research into the switch hit, the committee discussed the complex range of issues surrounding the shot. MCC had already interviewed a number of leading players and umpires from around the world, whose opinions were shared with the committee. The committee recognised that the innovation and excitement of the shot, which enhance the spectator experience, has to be set against the need to maintain a fair balance between bat and ball. There was some support for amending the LBW Law when the shot was played and when the ball pitched outside the original leg stump. It was noted, however, that the umpires questioned did not want to have to differentiate between a switch hit and a reverse sweep. MCC will continue to garner opinion from more stakeholders before submitting a recommendation to ICC’s Cricket Committee in 2013.
ii) Steven Finn dead ball incident
The committee felt that, based on the particular circumstances of the incident in which the batsmen and the umpire were distracted when the wicket was repeatedly broken, the umpires had handled the situation well. It was pleased to hear that ICC had decided that a repeat of the bowler accidentally breaking the wicket would not automatically result in a call of dead ball. Rather, it would typically need a degree of repetition or a significant ‘demolition’ of the stumps for dead ball to be called.
iii) Bad light
The committee congratulated ICC, together with international players and umpires, for the way in which play now continues for longer in cases of bad light. Citing the Test Match at Lord’s in May 2012 as an example, play was made possible with the use of floodlights for a large proportion of the match, which might not have been the case a year or two earlier.