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New ICC rules in place for the Ashes

A summary of the major changes that recently came into effect, which are in place for the first time in Test cricket on Australian soil

The Magellan Ashes are underway and it will be the first series Australia has played under a host of new rules that could have a major impact on the five-Test bout against England.

Restrictions on bat thickness, the power for umpires to send violent players off the field and tweaks to the Decision Review System are among the most notable rule modifications the International Cricket Council introduced in September.

Below, we've summed up all the major changes and how they could affect this summer's Ashes.

Decision Review System

An alteration to the Umpire’s Call element of the DRS will be a welcome change for many captains, although the modification is a double-edged sword as teams now have less reviews to play with if they are careless with them.

Under the previous regulations, teams were permitted two unsuccessful reviews every 80 overs during a Test innings.

The new ICC playing conditions dictate teams won't lose a review if they send an lbw decision upstairs and ball-tracking technology comes up 'Umpire's Call' (which is used when a decision is deemed too close to overturn) as was previously the case.

But with that allowance comes a catch; teams will no longer receive 'top-up' reviews after 80 overs.

It means that although teams will have more leeway with what's deemed an 'unsuccessful review', if they burn their two reviews early they could be stuck for a long stint in the field with no recourse for marginal decisions

Bat thickness

A close-up look at the new bat gauge // Kookaburra
A close-up look at the new bat gauge // Kookaburra

In line with the Marylebone Cricket Club's new Code of Laws, the ICC has cracked down on oversized bats in international cricket.

Bat edges have been limited to 40mm and their overall depth – the distance between the face and the deepest point on the back of the bat – to 67mm, with umpires given bat gauges to check any piece of willow they suspect of being too large.

While the likes of David Warner have previously used bats that exceed the new restrictions, Australia's Test batsmen have not been caught on the hop by the changes as leading bat-makers were given plenty of notice of the changes. 

Players had previously been using bats with edges as big as 55mm and up to 80mm in overall depth, according to bat manufacturer Grey-Nicolls.

'I don't think it's going to affect me now' // Getty
'I don't think it's going to affect me now' // Getty

But never fear, Warner doesn't believe his big-hitting capabilities will be curtailed by the change.

"It's basically the same bats that I started my career with," the left-hander said in September. "I took them (his old bats) down to my bat-maker and said 'we've got to go back to what we started with'. 

"It obviously didn't affect me then so I don't think it's going to affect me now."

Send-offs

Umpires now have the power to send violent players from the field, either temporarily or permanently, and award penalty runs to the opposition.

Don't expect players to be frequently dismissed from the field however – the new measures are only in place for serious offences.

Threatening to assault an umpire, making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with an umpire, physically assaulting a player or any other person and committing any other act of violence all constitute the most serious (level four) offence and will result in a player being banished from the field for the rest of the match.

Level one and two offences can result in penalty runs, while officials can send a player off temporarily for a level three offences.

Should such an incident occur, keep an eye out for a couple of brand new signals umpires have added to their repertoire.

When a player is being sent from the field – either permanently or temporarily – umpires must put an arm out to the side of their body and repeatedly raise and lower it.

If the player is being sent off permanently the official will follow that initial signal by pointing their index finger and hold their arm outstretched to the side of their body.

Other changes

- Players can now be caught, stumped or run out after the ball strikes a helmet being worn by a fielder or a wicketkeeper. Previously it would be a dead ball once the ball hit a fielder’s helmet.

- 'Bouncing bat' run-outs to no longer be out, provided the batsman has "continued forward momentum through running or diving" when the wicket is put down.

Unlucky Tharanga run out two months too soon

- A no ball will be called if a delivery bounces more than once (previously more than twice) before the popping crease.

- A batter can now be recalled by umpires – or an appeal withdrawn by fielders – before the ensuing ball is bowled, even if the dismissed batter has left the field of play

- Fielders intentionally deceiving or distracting a batsman (for example, ‘fake fielding’ where a player pretends to throw or pick up a ball) can now be penalised

Queensland fall foul of new 'fake fielding' regulations

- Bowlers deemed to have deliberately bowled a front foot no ball will be barred from bowling for the remainder of the innings

- A batter can no longer repeatedly take strike in the protected area of the pitch, just as a bowler can not repeatedly follow through into the protected area under the existing rules

- 'Handled the ball' is no longer a separate dismissal; it has been incorporated into the 'obstructing the field' Law

- The number of named substitutes for international teams has been increased from four to six

- Breaks in play (ie lunch or tea interval) are to be taken if a wicket falls within three minutes of an interval (previously two minutes)

- Airborne fielders making their first contact with the ball need to have taken off from within the boundary (this Law was changed in 2013 but had not been formally adopted into the ICC's playing conditions)

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21