It’s something you’d normally see in the backyard or on the beach, but now tethered bails have been used for the first time in elite competition.
The new addition to the woodwork was recently trialled at Lord’s recently in a match between Cardiff MCCU and Loughborough MCCU in the MCC Universities Challenge final ahead of its introduction in October.
The move to tether the bails to the stumps was made to increase player safety by preventing the bails from flying into a wicketkeeper standing up to the stumps.
Former South Africa gloveman Mark Boucher, who holds the record for the most dismissals – 999 – in international cricket, was forced to immediately retire from the game after a bail hit him in the eye in a tour match on the 2012 tour of England.
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The Marylebone Cricket Club’s new Code of Laws, which come into effect from October 1 this year and also includes restrictions on bat sizes, permits the use of tethered bails at any level of the game, from grassroots to the Gabba.
Whether tethered bails will be used at international level will come down to the approval of the governing body of the match or series in question.
"MCC have been working with two companies who have designed similar products aimed at safeguarding the players, especially wicketkeepers," said MCC Laws Manager Fraser Stewart.
"The Club approved of the concept and felt it was right to allow such devices within the Laws, subject to approval from the body responsible for the match.
"We felt that the MCC Universities final prevented a good opportunity to trial the innovative design.
"If it prevents further injuries, it must be a good thing for the game."
Boucher himself has previously called for the introduction of tethered bails, conceding that while helmets play a vital role in player safety, wearing one would not have stopped his freak career-ending injury.
"I had not worn the helmet but even if I had, it would not have avoided the accident. Helmets are designed for balls, not bails ," Boucher said last year.
"My recommendation would be to somehow attach the bails to the stumps, by a light string. This way, the bails will not fly and cause damage to any player.
"I would strongly recommend everyone to wear a helmet, but making it compulsory would not be fair on players who prefer not to wear one."