Someday, although betting on it should be resisted at all costs, they will stop tinkering with one-day cricket. But not yet.
In the latest attempt to make the 50-over game more alluring, the International Cricket Council's advisers yesterday suggested more new regulations. First, they want to abolish the five-over bowling powerplay, when fielding restrictions apply.
This would leave 35 non-powerplay overs during which they have recommended reducing the number of players outside the 30-yard fielding circle from five to four. To give bowlers a bit of hope they also suggested increasing the number of short-pitched deliveries allowed in an over from one to two.
David Richardson, the ICC's cricket general manager and chief executive-elect, said: "The changes will help enhance what is still an exceptionally popular form of the game. There is, though, a need to develop a strong identity for the 50-over game distinct from Twenty20 cricket."
Since the World Cup last year was generally perceived, certainly by the ICC, to have revitalised the one-day game, these latest changes might be thought excessive. The ICC's cricket committee, whose membership includes nine former Test players, deemed otherwise at its annual meeting in London.
Presumably with his tongue not far from his cheek, Richardson said: "The committee was mindful of the need to avoid continual changes but was determined to complete the process initiated last year."
The powerplays were last changed only a year ago when teams were compelled to take the batting and bowling powerplays between the 16th and 40th overs. The mandatory 10-over powerplay at the start of an innings is the one constant.
Other potentially contentious aspects of the game were either paid lip service or shunted aside. The committee reiterated that the decision review system should be implemented universally but as India refuses to do so their view hardly counts.
They also suggested that trial day-night Test matches should be allowed if any countries wanted to play them. It is thought that India, New Zealand and South Africa might be interested.
Pre-meeting rumours that the committee would outlaw the switch hit came to nought. Instead, they endorsed the MCC's view that it is an exciting shot which should remain legitimate and have asked MCC for further direction – a day too late for Kevin Pietersen's career.
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