ICC introduces new rule in T20Is – ICC Cricket

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ICC introduces new rule in T20Is to penalise teams for slow over-rate. In-match penalty for slow over-rates introduced for all men’s and women’s Twenty20 Internationals; optional drinks interval part of updated playing conditions.

An in-match penalty for slow over rates in men’s and women’s Twenty20 Internationals comes into effect this month, with the updated playing conditions also providing for an optional drinks interval midway through the innings in bilateral T20 international cricket.

The over rate regulations are captured in clause 13.8 of the playing conditions, which stipulate that a fielding side must be in position to bowl the first ball of the final over of the innings by the scheduled or rescheduled time for the end of the innings. If they are not in such a position, one fewer fielder will be permitted outside of the 30-yard circle for the remaining overs of the innings.

The change was recommended by the ICC Cricket Committee, which regularly discusses ways to improve the pace of play in all formats, after considering reports on the effectiveness of a similar regulation that was included in the playing conditions for the Hundred competition conducted by the ECB.

The in-match penalties are in addition to the sanctions for slow over rate outlined in Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel.

In another change, an optional drinks break of two minutes and thirty seconds may be taken at the mid-point of each innings subject to agreement between Members at the start of each series. 

Read More about: MCC Law Code of Laws in Cricket

The first match to be played under the new playing conditions will be the men’s one-off T20I tie between the West Indies and Ireland at the Sabina Park in Jamaica on 16 January.


Why have these interim playing regulations been introduced?
These are to allow international cricket to resume as safely and as quickly as possible after the disruption
caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the key changes that will be seen?

  1. COVID-19 Replacements – During a Test match, a team will be allowed to replace a player who
    (i) has tested positive for COVID-19, or (ii) is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or (iii) has been
    forced to isolate because of contact tracing. In line with Concussion Replacements, the Match
    Referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement.
  2. Ban on applying saliva to the ball – Players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball.
    If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency
    during and initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the
    team receiving a warning. A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use
    of saliva on the ball will result in a 5-run penalty to the batting side. Whenever saliva is applied to
    the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences.
  3. Non-neutral umpires – The requirement to appoint neutral match officials will be temporarily
    removed from the playing conditions of all international formats. The ICC will be able to appoint
    locally based match officials from the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the
    Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials.
  4. Additional DRS Reviews – Teams will get an additional DRS review in each innings, increasing
    the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the
    white-ball formats.
  5. Code of Conduct – The ICC Cricket Operations team will support Match Referees when
    processing Code of Conduct breaches and a neutral Emirates ICC Elite Panel Match Referee will
    conduct any hearings remotely via video link.
  6. Additional logo allowed – A logo, not exceeding 32 square inches in size, may be placed on the
    chest of the Test match shirt and sweater in addition to the three other logos allowed as per
    regulations. This will apply through to the end of the 2020-21 season.

When will these interim changes be reviewed?
The changes will be reviewed every three months.

Saliva is now banned but not sweat. Why so?
The ICC Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that saliva is not used on the match ball
because of the elevated risk of transmission of the virus through saliva and as such, the use of saliva to
polish the ball is prohibited. The MAC advised, that it was highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted
through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball, whilst recommending that
enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field.
The bowlers could apply saliva out of habit rather than intent but still be penalized.
The umpires will be instructed to show leniency during the initial period of adjustment, although players
would have been used to the change in training and warm-up matches. Two official warnings will be given
in each innings before any 5-run penalty is applied. Should saliva be used, the umpires will clean the ball
before play resumes.

Why are there COVID-19 Replacements in Tests but not in ODIs and T20Is?
Players will go through pre-match medical screening each day, and it is less likely that any of the criteria
that would trigger a COVID-19 replacement could present during a one-day match.
Who decides that a player needs to stand down?
The team medical representatives will decide whether a player needs to be withdrawn from a match.
Does this work like a Concussion Replacement?
Yes. The replacement will be for the entire duration of the match and the match referee will sanction any
like-for-like replacements.
What about hygiene measures?
There will be enhanced hygiene measures around the field of play and the Host Board will be responsible
for providing the facilities at venues. Member Boards will be responsible for educating their players. On
field, umpires will keep the ball clean with an appropriate cloth each time a player uses saliva on the ball.
What happens if a player tests positive during the England v WI series?
The ECB has worked closely with public health authorities in the UK and will have a dedicated COVID-19
Medical Officer throughout the series. If a player or match official becomes unwell, they will be isolated
immediately, and the COVID-19 Medical Officer will manage the situation on the ground in line with
government policy and Public Health England will be informed. The game can continue unless, there are
close-contacts as defined by government policy and / or other symptomatic individuals and of course
COVID-19 replacements can be deployed as per the regulations.
Who appoints match officials now?
The ICC and home Boards continue to appoint match officials the way they have been doing.
Match Referee Field Umpire 1 Field Umpire 2 3rd Umpire 4
th Umpire
T20I ICC Host Host Host Host
*The Host Board will appoint the 3rd Umpire if DRS is not in use.
Will the ICC prioritize the appointment of Elite Panel match officials?
Yes, the ICC will appoint Elite Panel umpires and match referees wherever possible.
Why the increase in number of reviews?
This is to support the less experienced umpires that may be officiating more often during this interim
period. Teams will now get three unsuccessful decisions per innings per side in Tests and two
unsuccessful decisions per side in ODIs and T20Is.
What about Match referees hearing Code of Conduct charges involving players from their country?
The ICC Cricket Operations department will support Match Referees when processing all Code of
Conduct charges by vetting any sanctions proposed by the Match Referee for accuracy and consistency.
Also, any hearings will be conducted by a neutral match referee from the Elite Panel via video link.

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