• ICC ponders ODI rule changes

    The balance in cricket is shifting too much towards batsmen which might prompt the ICC to change some of the rules of the game, says ICC chief executive Dave Richardson.

    With the benefits of bigger bats and smaller boundaries, the world’s best batsmen have been piling on the runs in the World Cup, hitting more than 450 sixes.

    In the previous 10 World Cups, no batsman had ever made a double century and only once had a team cracked the magical 400-run barrier.

    But in 2015, two batsmen, Chris Gayle (215) and Martin Guptill (237 not out) have made double hundreds. And the 400-run barrier has been broken three times.

    But for the bowlers, the World Cup has been hard toil. Only one bowler, New Zealand paceman Trent Boult, has taken more than 20 wickets in the tournament. At the 2007 World Cup, by comparison, four bowlers took over 20 wickets.

    Richardson admitted the battle between bat and ball was unbalanced and shifting too much towards batsmen. He said the rules might have to be changed to give the bowlers more of a chance.

    Richardson suggested that one possible rule change could be to allow teams to have five fielders in the outfield in last 10 overs, when batsmen typically score faster.

    Under the current rules, teams can only have a maximum of four fielders outside the circle.

    ‘In the old days you had one area you couldn’t defend, now there’s two and if a good batsman is set, as a bowler you’ve got very little prize [for the bowlers],’ Richardson told Reuters.

    Richardson said the sudden expansion of Twenty20 was clearly having a positive impact on other forms of the game.

    ‘I think the change in rules has helped, and the influence of T20 has impacted both ODIs and the way they play Test cricket, so the batsmen are far more attacking,’ he said.

    ‘That’s led to the captains, probably out of desperation, having to be more attacking to take wickets to try to keep the scoring in check.’