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MCC monitoring bat performance at ICC World Cup

AB de Villiers launches a six
AB de Villiers launches a six

MCC, the Guardians of the Laws of Cricket, will continue to closely monitor the performance of bats during the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Club will continue to analyse the changing technology behind cricket bats and its effect on the balance between bat and ball in all formats of the game and at all levels.

In the lead-up to the World Cup, Dave Richardson, Chief Executive of ICC and a Member of MCC's World Cricket committee, has admitted that the current balance favours batsmen, and vowed to ensure boundary ropes are set to 90 metres for the competition.

In an interview with ESPNCricinfo.com, Richardson said: "The bats are so good these days that the sweet spot is much larger than it would have been 10-15 years ago.

"The MCC, as law makers, and the ICC will be looking at giving perhaps some consideration to placing limitations on the depth of a bat in particular."

Currently there are no limitations in the Laws of Cricket on bat depth - though its length and width are constrained to 38 inches and 4.25 inches respectively in Appendix E (The Bat).

At a meeting of the World Cricket committee (WCC) in 2014 it was decided to maintain a watching brief regarding bat technology, with no immediate Law change.

MCC has however remained active in monitoring, with the WCC, Laws sub-commitee and Cricket commitee all working together on the subject.

The Club's Head of Cricket John Stephenson described umpire and player safety as a major consideration for the Club - as is the sight of mis-hit shots easily clearing the boundary.

However, he also offered MCC's view that bat technology is not the only factor behind the recent trend for bigger and faster scoring in the game -  typified by AB de Villers' 31-ball ton for South Africa against the West Indies in Johannesburg last month.

He added: "It is worth noting that it is not simply the style of bats that bring these higher scores; some of the pitches they are scored on are very flat, boundaries are sometimes shortened and in some cases players are a lot stronger than in previous years.

"T20 cricket has increased batsmen's focus on clearing the boundary ropes regularly and we must also recognise the incredible individual skill involved in playing an innings like AB De Villiers did against the West Indies."


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