The so-called Guardians of Cricket have settled on a new code of laws that will limit the thickness of bats and provide penalty runs for bad behaviour, with the changes set to be introduced 1 October onwards.
After lengthy debate over the increasing dominance of bat over ball, the Marylebone Cricket Club on Monday released regulations on the width and thickness of the bats. The changes will start at the professional level and be phased into amateur cricket.
The maximum dimensions of a cricket bat will be set at 108 millimeters for width, 67 millimeters in depth and 40 millimeters for the edges.
It means the likes of Australian opening batsman David Warner will have to rely on a bat with a significantly thinner spine than he has been using in recent seasons. The size of bats has become more of an issue since the advent of Twenty20 cricket, where batters attack the ball from the first over of the game.
A bat gauge will be used to ensure that the new limits are adhered to in the professional game. Umpires already have small gauges to test the shape of the ball, which must be a certain weight.
The new edition of the Code of Laws, the first since 2000, will be formally released on March 20.
John Stephenson, the MCC's head of cricket, said the game had evolved significantly over the last 14 years and it was time to rewrite some laws rather than keep making amendments.
John Stephenson, MCC’s head of cricketWe felt the time was right for a new code to tidy up many of the piecemeal changes made since 2000. The bat size issue has been heavily scrutinized and discussed. We believe the maximum dimensions we have set will help redress the balance between bat and ball, while still allowing the explosive, big hitting we all enjoy.
The MCC, based at Lord's in London, is responsible for the laws of the game, while the International Cricket Council is responsible for the administration of the sport.