The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has announced certain changes to the laws of the game. The new rules address matters such as run-outs, dead balls, and permanently banning the use of saliva to shine the ball.
Fraser Stewart, MCC Laws Manager, said: "Since the publication of the 2017 Code of the Laws of Cricket, the game has changed in numerous ways. The second edition of that code, published in 2019, was mostly clarifications and minor amendments, but the 2022 code makes some rather bigger changes, from the way we talk about cricket to the way it is played.
"It is important that we announce these changes now as part of the Club's global commitment to the game, giving officials from all over the world the chance to learn under the new Code ahead of the Laws coming into force in October."
The changes will be implemented from 1 October.
Non-Striker Run-Out Not Unfair Play
Running out of the non-striker by the bowler before delivering the ball or ‘Mankading’ as it has been more commonly termed, was considered as unfair play.
October onwards, it will be classified as a run-out and has been moved to Law 38 (Run Out) from Law 41 (Unfair Play).
Banning Use of Saliva
When cricket restarted in the pandemic, one of the things that wasn’t allowed was using saliva to shine the ball. The MCC have now suggested that it be done away with permanently and application of it on the ball is illegal and will be considered as unfairly changing the condition of the ball. This also addresses any concerns or questions around fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva to apply to the ball.
"The new Laws will not permit the use of saliva on the ball, which also removes any grey areas of fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva to apply to the ball. Using saliva will be treated the same way as any other unfair methods of changing the condition of the ball," the MCC said in a statement.
The introduction of a new clause, Law 1.3, explains that replacement players will be treated as if they were the player they replaced, inheriting any sanctions or dismissals that player has incurred in that match.
Batters Returning When Caught
Trialled in The Hundred, the change to Law 18.11 would mean that the incoming batter will take strike when the batter on the field is out caught, unless it is the end of the over. This eliminates the grey area around the batters crossing when a catch is taken.
Any kind of external interference which disadvantages either team will lead to the umpires ruling that delivery as a dead ball (Law 20.4.2. 12).
Pitch invaders, animals running on to the field of play or anything that has a material impact on the game, will all result in the umpires ruling dead ball.
Another situation (Law 21.4) which will lead to a dead ball, is if the bowler throws at the striker’s end before entering his delivery stride to run out the batter – understandably this is an extremely rare happenstance.
Batter’s Right To Play the Delivery
The MCC has suggested, in Law 25.8, that they will allow a batter to hit the ball if it lands away from the pitch, provided some part of their bat or person remains within the pitch. If the batter ventures beyond, the delivery will be called a dead ball, and as a reward to the batter, any ball forcing them to leave the pitch will also be called No Ball.
Unfair Movement by Fielders
Up until now, any unfair movement by a fielder, for example, changing position when the bowler is in his run-up, was referred to as a dead ball. However, the MCC has suggested that the batting side be given a five-run penalty award in the situation.
Currently, such is the pace of the game and the dynamism, that batters are moving around the crease before the ball is bowled. It was felt unfair that a delivery might be called 'Wide' if it passes where the batter had stood as the bowler entered their delivery stride. Therefore, Law 22.1 has been amended so that a 'Wide' will apply to where the batter is standing, where the striker has stood at any point since the bowler began their run-up, and which would also have passed wide of the striker in a normal batting position.