The MCC World Cricket committee met at Lord's on 15th and 16th July. Committee members who were unable to attend provided comments in advance on a range of issues.
Decision Review System about improvement, not perfection, and good for the game
It was a unanimous view of all members of the World Cricket committee present at its meeting that the Decision Review System works, and undoubtedly helps the umpires to bring about more correct decisions on the field.
Incidents at the recent England v. Australia Test Match at Trent Bridge were discussed. The committee was unanimous in its opinion that it was the poor implementation of DRS that led to the controversies, rather than the system itself. Human error will always play a part in the game for both players and umpires but the DRS is successful in limiting this.
With the DRS, more correct decisions are being made (generally DRS improves correct decision making by about five percentage points in Test cricket) and so the committee strongly reiterates its desire to see the universal implementation of the system in international cricket matches. The DRS is not perfect, but it improves decision making and adds to the spectator experience, which is good for the game. A further benefit from universal use would be the ownership of the whole process by ICC rather than by television companies.
MCC to promote and encourage day/night Test Match opportunities
MCC will help ICC Member countries to identify opportunities to play day/night Test cricket in the Future Tours Programme. Furthermore, MCC has offered to advise member boards as to best practice regarding cricketing issues involved in staging such day/night matches. Considerations would include:
- when and where dew is unlikely to be prevalent
- preference for grounds with easy access for workers
- the type of ball and sightscreens to use
- the quality of the floodlights
- the hours of play and intervals
The World Cricket committee has long been an advocate of trying out day/night Test cricket to help reinvigorate the five day game in countries where Test attendances are poor. The committee believes that day/night, pink ball Test cricket, properly marketed and played in the right conditions, would help to ensure that Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the game throughout the world.
MCC has initiated and carried through much of this research and trialling of day/night, first-class cricket matches over the past four years. The Club’s Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, who has been instrumental in organising the MCC v. Champion County fixture in Abu Dhabi since 2010, and who also sits on the ICC Cricket committee, will lead this process for the Club.
ICC World Test Championship backed by MCC World Cricket committee
The World Cricket committee congratulates the ICC for introducing a World Test Championship (WTC) into their plans, and was pleased to learn that the competition had been scheduled into the Future Tours Programme in the years 2017 and 2021. The Committee has had a long-standing support for a WTC, and is pleased to see that finally all three formats of the game will have a proper context and a natural four year cycle.
The ICC is now in the process of formulating the regulations concerning the tournament, and the committee will submit its suggestions and recommendations to ICC in the coming months.
Committee encourages more sharing of anti-corruption practices
The World Cricket committee heard presentations from Alan Isaac, ICC President, Steven Richardson, ECB’s Senior Investigator and Angus Porter, Chief Executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, on the work being undertaken to fight corruption in the game.
The committee was pleased that ICC brought together all the domestic Anti-Corruption and Security Units (ACSU) to share information and formulate best practice in March 2013. However, the committee feels it is desirable for ICC to take central control of this whole issue, as it would then be easier to pool resources between their member countries. The committee also encourages the creation of domestic ACSUs in all member countries as soon as possible.
Angus Porter’s presentation to the committee emphasised the importance of having player representative bodies acting in the interests of players and the game, and demonstrated what a wide range of services they provide to current and former players. The committee was pleased to hear of the good relationship that exists between the PCA and the ECB’s Anti-Corruption Unit and that they were working closely together on the fight against corruption.
Balance between the bat and ball
The committee heard presentations from Jeremy Ruggles of JS Wright (Willow producers) and Andrew Kember, the master craftsman at Salix, concerning the process of making cricket bats. This initiated a discussion on the balance of the game between bat and ball, the increase in six-hitting in the game and the weight, width and pressing techniques associated with modern bats.
One suggestion was that there should be a restriction on the size of a cleft used in a bat, thus limiting its overall depth and therefore its power. Manufacturers would be free to develop their skills in distributing weight and balance in bats as they see fit, albeit within a tighter framework.
Opinions varied on this matter, from members who thought that increased six-hitting was entertaining for the game, to those who see bowlers getting an increasingly raw deal with ‘mis-hit’ sixes, whilst others highlighted the increase in the percentage of Test matches ending in results as evidence that bowlers are indeed able to take wickets. It was also noted that better pitches, shorter boundaries and stronger players, allied to the rise of T20, have had an impact on batting styles.
With no consensus, MCC has decided to undertake more research in this area, consult a range of bat manufacturers, and conduct laboratory testing to determine the power of modern bats of varying shapes and weights.
Mike Brearley thanks outgoing committee Members
The MCC World Cricket committee Chairman, Mike Brearley, thanked Mike Atherton, Geoffrey Boycott and Barry Richards for their contributions to the committee since its inception in 2006. He said they had been extremely influential and important members of the committee and that they will be missed when they retire on 30th September this year, but reiterated that it was essential to have rotation on the committee to ensure that new ideas were always brought to the fore.
Notes to editors
- MCC World Cricket committee members Steve Waugh, Barry Richards, Charlotte Edwards and Rod Marsh tell Lord's TV that the Decision Review System is good for cricket despite coming under scrutiny during the first Investec Test match between England and Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS0dieYtiw4
- Established in April 2006, 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 the committee should have up-to-date experience of cricket currently played at a professional level.
- Members are invited primarily because of their continued close involvement in the game, for example, current Test cricketers and umpires, media broadcasters and journalists, and cricket administrators.
- Eight of the ICC Full Member nations are represented on the committee.
- Membership of the committee is voluntary and unpaid.
The full list of committee members is as follows (those in italics were not able to be present at the meeting at Lord’s)
- Mike Brearley (Chairman)
- Jimmy Adams
- Mike Atherton
- Geoffrey Boycott
- Steve Bucknor
- Rahul Dravid
- Charlotte Edwards
- Majid Khan
- Anil Kumble
- Rod Marsh
- Shaun Pollock
- Barry Richards
- David Richardson
- Kumar Sangakkara
- Michael Vaughan
- Steve Waugh
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