ICC consider crackdown on bat sizes
ICC boss concedes modern bats have 'shifted the balance' towards batsmen
5 February 2015, 09:59 AM AEST
The International Cricket Council will look at placing restrictions on bat sizes as they aim to address the growing imbalance between bat and ball.
ICC chief executive David Richardson says the size of modern bats has "shifted the balance" in favour of batsmen and said the game's law makers would consider making a change.
The current laws regarding bat sizes, contained in Appendix E of the Laws of Cricket, only limits the width of the bat to 4.25 inches and the length to 38 inches.
"The balance may have shifted a little bit too much because sometimes poor shots or mis-hits are going for six," Richardson told ESPN Cricinfo.
"Let us try and rectify that.
"The bats are so good these days that the sweet spot is much larger than it would have been 10-15 years ago.
"The MCC, as law makers, and the ICC will be looking at giving perhaps some consideration to placing limitations on the depth of a bat in particular."
A report released last year found that while the length and width of bats has remained steady over the years, both the thickness of the blade and the size of the 'sweet spot' have increased dramatically.
The report, commissioned by the MCC, cricket's official law makers, found that bat thickness has increased up to 22 mm over the past century and the size of the 'sweet spot' on the face of the bat is almost two-and-a-half times larger.
The thickness of edges in modern bats has also increased by almost 300 per cent which, combined with greater stiffness to limit vibrations, means mis-hits can travel much further.
Despite the findings of the report, the MCC's World Cricket Committee - a 14-person panel featuring the likes of Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid and Charlotte Edwards - decided against placing any restrictions on bat sizes.
Committee member and former England captain Andrew Strauss said how best to entertain the fans was considered in the deliberations.
"For the time being, we feel that there is a decent balance there (between bat and ball)," Strauss said after the Committee's meeting at Lord's in July.
"But clearly it needs monitoring to make sure it doesn't slip too far in one direction in the future."
The power of modern bats - both due to the increased size and advances in bat-making technology - and the advent of Twenty20 cricket has contributed to several batting records being broken in recent years.
Last month, South Africa captain AB de Villiers smashed the record for the fastest ODI century, his mark of 31 balls surpassing the record of 36 set by New Zealand's Corey Anderson in 2014.
And last year, India's Rohit Sharma registered the highest score in ODI cricket, 264 from 173 balls against Sri Lanka in Kolkata. All four ODI double centuries have been scored this decade.
"(De Villiers), Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara, they are exceptionally talented and no one minds if they hit some great shots which go for six," Richardson said.
"But where some batsmen are mis-hitting balls and it is just carrying over the rope and going for a six instead of being caught at the boundary, that is what some cricket people believe has become unfair."
In the short term, Richardson said the disparity between bat and ball would be addressed by pushing boundary ropes back as far as possible.
"What we have done up until now is try and maximize the size of the boundary," Richardson said.
"You will see for the World Cup, most of the grounds in Australia in particular, which allow for big playing surfaces, boundary ropes will be pushed back to at least 90 yards where possible.”