The ICC has made minor changes to the game’s playing conditions for 2014-15. Among the changes, the permitted duration of Twenty20 innings has been extended from 80 minutes to 85 minutes, and Real-Time Snickometer has been included in the ICC’s list of approved technology for the DRS. These regulations will come into effect from the Pakistan v Australia series, which kicks off in the UAE on October 5.
Duration of a T20 innings
The increase in the permitted duration of T20 innings’ from 80 minutes to 85 minutes should bring some relief to captains, with fines and suspensions for over-rate offences not uncommon over the last year. At the World T20 in March and April, South Africa’s Faf du Plessis and Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal both received over-rate suspensions. In the case of shortened innings, the minimum over rate to be achieved will be 14.11.
Previously Snickometer had not been part of the tools available to the third umpire when reviewing a decision – the only audio aid was the audio recorded by the stump mic – since the process of matching the audio with the vision proved to be too time-consuming. However, Real-Time Snickometer, which was trialled during the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia, makes the process almost instantaneous. While it is now approved and permissible, it will not be compulsory to include Real-Time Snickometer in the DRS wherever it is used. The regulation allowing a top-up of DRS reviews after 80 overs has been extended for another year.
Change in time penalties for being absent on the field
There has been a change in the time penalties levied on players who leave the field of play for more than two overs at a time for reasons other than an external injury. Previously the player would have to refrain from bowling for the same length of time that he was off the field after coming back on, or wait his turn to bat until the required time lapsed or his team lost five wickets, whichever came first. Now the player will get a maximum time penalty of two hours, even if he was off the field for a longer period. The penalty can be carried over to subsequent innings, if not completed within the same.
For example, if a player was off the field for an hour in the first innings of a Test before his team came out to bat, but his team then loses five wickets in 40 minutes, he can come out to bat but will have to refrain from bowling for the first 20 minutes of the third innings. Similarly if the player has a one-hour bowling penalty but the opposition is bowled out 15 minutes after he returns to the field, he will not be eligible to bat for the first 45 minutes of his team’s innings. The time penalties do not carry over to the next match, however.
Restrictions on substitutes
Now, in addition to the playing XI, each captain nominate a maximum of four substitute fielders in writing to the match referee before the toss, and only those specified can substitute. Players serving match suspensions cannot be named as a substitute, or enter the dressing room, dug-out or field of play – including the area between the boundary and the hoardings – from the time of the toss to the conclusion of the match; a suspended player cannot even carry drinks out to his team-mates.
Abandoning games, and dealing with dew
The new conditions have formalised the requirement for the umpires to consult with the match referee before deciding on abandoning play. In addition, the umpires have been empowered to “stop play and instruct the ground staff to take whatever action they can and use whatever equipment is necessary to remove as much dew as possible from the outfield when conditions become unreasonable or dangerous”.