Dada must do a Kumble!

Dada must do a Kumble!

sourav anil photoe d - Dada must do a Kumble!

The International Cricket Council is the one that runs International cricket. It’s not just the cricket between the full member countries who play the five day Test matches between each other as well as the one day internationals and the T20 Internationals, but also the matches between the Associate member countries. For all these games the ICC permits the playing conditions to be decided by the participating teams. The laws of the game though are formulated by the Marylebone Cricket Club based in St John’s Wood, London. This private-members-only club makes the laws which are binding on every game of cricket. By and large the laws have been well accepted by the players and the general public and even for a newcomer to the sport it is not too difficult to follow the game and get to understand the basics. However, there is one recent change in a law which has baffled quite a few and many are wondering whether there was any need to change it at all. This law is about a new batsman taking strike even if the dismissed batsman and the non-striker had crossed each other when the catch was taken. All these years if the non-striker crosses the striker while the ball is in the air, then once the catch is completed he gets to keep the strike. If the non-striker is a quality batsman then he can help his team to score more runs especially if the remaining  batsmen are not known for their batting ability. In a tight game this can often be the difference between winning and losing.

That’s why there was so much interest to see if the batsmen had indeed crossed before the catch was taken. The slow motion TV replays to check this was always most exciting  with the batting team and their supporters hoping the batsmen had crossed while the bowling team were holding their breath to see that they hadn’t.

No more excitement

This was exciting and there were always recriminations if the non-striker had not made the effort or the batsman after hitting the ball up in the air had turned away without giving the non-striker the chance to go past him. It made for exciting television too. Now, with the change in the law that says that if the catch is taken the new batsman must take strike has meant that the exciting element of checking if the batsmen had crossed and the many talking points around it are a thing of the past. Strangely, there was never any demand for the law to be changed and that’s why the wonder is why it was changed at all. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s new baby, The Hundred had many changes including a five-ball over and not just that but the same bowler could bowl the next five ball over too and from the same end too. Yes, it’s still cricket but the playing conditions being tweaked to make it interesting for a new audience. Well, it’s their tournament so they can make up any conditions that they want. The non-striker not getting the strike despite crossing the batsman who is out caught was also introduced at The Hundred last year and that may have prompted the MCC to change the law. The point is that, shouldn’t the ICC that runs the international game have a say in this? Shouldn’t the ICC Cricket Committee have a discussion on whether it’s necessary to change the law? The ICC Technical Committee comprises some of the best brains in the game with a fair representation for all branches of the game. So the players—present and past, coaches, umpires, media, everybody is represented by distinguished names in this committee and so this is the most powerful committee that takes decisions that concern the actual playing of the game. Yet when it comes to the laws it’s the MCC Laws Committee that decides and they decided on changing the law about the batsman dismissed by a catch being replaced by the new batsman and not the non-striker even if he had crossed the dismissed batsman before the catch was taken. I am not too sure who the members of the MCC Laws Committee are, but hopefully for a decision that affects the world game there is a fair representation of different countries in it and not just British members.

Yes, there is a MCC World committee with former players from different countries and we read regular media releases from them about this and that, but then that is pretty much like if the Cricket Club of India or the Madras Cricket Club or Delhi Gymkhana formed their own cricket committees to name just three prominent clubs even as the Technical Committee of BCCI is supreme in matters of Indian cricket. It would be just ego-massaging by the three clubs and doesn’t make a difference at all to the BCCI Technical Committee.

‘Prestige’ issue

It was good to see Anil Kumble when he was Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee never going to the MCC World committee meetings even though he was invited. How can the Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee be a mere member in the MCC world committee and not head it? Hopefully, Sourav Ganguly, the new Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee will also not attend as that brings down the prestige of the ICC Cricket Committee. 
It would be really interesting if the ICC Cricket Committee takes up this change in the law and debates on it. If they feel that’s good for the game then fine, but if they feel that it’s an unnecessary change then they should tell the MCC that next time they plan to change the laws they should consult the top rule making body in the game, the ICC Cricket Committee.

Professional Management Group