A swag of rule changes will come into effect in all international formats later this month after the International Cricket Council confirmed they've made numerous amendments to their playing conditions.
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 ICC will introduce from September 28.
The changes will come into effect for upcoming South Africa-Bangladesh and Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test series, while the ongoing one-day international series between India and Australia will be the last time matches are played under the existing regulations.
The majority of the changes have been made in response to the Marylebone Cricket Club's updated Code of Laws, introduced earlier this year.
"Most of the changes to the ICC playing conditions are being made as a result of changes to the Laws of Cricket that have been announced by the MCC," ICC general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice said.
"We have just completed a workshop with the umpires to ensure they understand all of the changes and we are now ready to introduce the new playing conditions to international matches."
In a bid to "maintain the balance between bat and ball", players will no longer be allowed to use bats with edges thicker than 40mm while the depth (the distance between the point on the back of the blade and the face) has been limited to 67mm.
On-field officials will also have the power to send violent players from the field, either temporarily or permanently, and award penalty runs to the opposition.
The DRS changes will be a welcome change for many captains. Under the current rules, teams are allowed two unsuccessful reviews every 80 overs during a Test innings, and one unsuccessful review in an ODI innings.
But 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).
The DRS may also now be used in T20 International matches.
There's been a change to another issue that has given third umpires headaches in recent year; 'bouncing bat' run-outs.
Once a batsman has grounded their bat beyond the popping crease but their "continued forward momentum towards the stumps" results in the willow losing contact with safe territory when the wicket is put down, the batsman will not be run out, as was previously the case.
Below is an exhaustive list of all the changes announced by the ICC to come into effect later this month:
- Thickness of bats to be restricted; edges now limited to 40mm and overall depth limited to 67mm
- Players can now be sent off by umpires for serious or violent misconduct
- Decision Review System changes: teams will no longer lose one of their allocated reviews when it is deemed to be 'Umpire's Call' though they will not receive top-up reviews after 80 overs, as was previously the case in Test cricket. The DRS may now also be used in T20 Internationals.
- Tethered bails (bails attached to string) may now be used in a bid to prevent injuries like the one sustained by former South Africa 'keeper Mark Boucher
- Players can now be caught, stumped or run-out after the ball strikes a helmet being worn by a fielder or a wicketkeeper
- '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.
- A no-ball will be called if a delivery bounces more than once (previously more than twice) before the popping crease. It's believed this delivery from Mason Crane, for example, would still be out under the new laws as it appears the ball took its second bounce between the popping crease and stumps
- 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, mock fielding where a player pretends to throw or pick up a ball) can now be penalised
- 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)
- In a rain-shortened match where an innings is reduced to 10 overs or less, a bowler's maximum quota of overs won't be reduced to less than two
- 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)
- Byes and leg byes off no-balls to now be scored separately. Previously byes or leg byes off no-balls were all recorded as no-balls