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Big changes in playing conditions by ICC ahead of World Cup

Big changes in playing conditions by ICC ahead of World Cup

  • ICC announces major changes to Playing Conditions, including scrapping the soft signal.
  • Helmets made mandatory for high-risk positions in cricket.
  • Free Hit rule amended to allow runs even if the ball hits the stumps.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has recently announced significant alterations to the Playing Conditions, set to take effect from June 1, 2023. These modifications were made following the approval of recommendations by the Men’s Cricket Committee, headed by Sourav Ganguly, and the Women’s Cricket Committee.

ICC Shakes Cricket World with New Playing Conditions- Soft Signal Gone, Helmets Compulsory, Free Hits Revamped

One of the major changes entails the elimination of the soft signal. Umpires will no longer be obligated to provide a soft signal when referring decisions to the TV umpire. Instead, on-field umpires will consult with the TV umpire before making any decisions, as confirmed by the ICC. The removal of soft signals stems from discussions that have taken place in various cricket committee meetings over the past few years. The committees have concluded that soft signals are unnecessary and can often lead to confusion, particularly when referrals of catches appear inconclusive in replays.

Another significant announcement concerns the mandatory use of helmets in high-risk positions. Batters facing fast bowlers, wicketkeepers standing up to the stumps, and fielders positioned close to the batter in front of the wicket will now be required to wear helmets. Player safety was a key aspect of the committee’s discussions, and the decision to enforce the use of helmets in specific positions aims to ensure the well-being of players.

Also, read: Meet the ICC Men’s Player of the Month!

A minor addition has been made to the Free Hit rule. Under the new Playing Conditions, any runs scored off a Free Hit will count even if the ball hits the stumps. This means that batters can now be bowled off a Free Hit but still attempt to score runs.

The aforementioned changes will come into effect on June 1, 2023, coinciding with the Lord’s Test between England and Ireland, a four-day one-off Test match. Furthermore, the World Test Championship final between India and Australia, commencing on June 7, will also adhere to these updated Playing Conditions.

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