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ICC considers restricting bat sizes before World Cup
February 5, 2015, 2:21 pm

The International Cricket Council (ICC) are looking at placing restrictions on bat sizes as they aim to address the growing imbalance between bat and ball.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said the size of modern bats has “shifted the balance” in favour of batsmen and said the game’s lawmakers would consider making a change. The current laws regarding bat sizes 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, the guardians of the laws of cricket, 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 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.

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.”

Ticket sales heading for million mark

Cricket fans from around the world are rushing to get their tickets and with just nine days before the start of the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, ticket sales is heading for the million mark.The 14 ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 venues around Australia and New Zealand are filling up for what promises to be the most intense competition ever for the silver and gold trophy.

According to the ICC, more than 750,000 tickets have been sold to date, well on the way to a predicted total attendance of more than a million.

While there are plenty of good seats left to great matches, organisers are urging fans to get their tickets now to avoid disappointment.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The ICC Cricket World Cup is on track to be the most open and competitive tournament ever. I’d urge everyone who can to get out and support their team.”

Australia and New Zealand last hosted the event 23 years ago and the lure of some of the world’s best cricket grounds and the chance for a great holiday is attracting tens of thousands of visitors.

'World Cup will boost ODI cricket'

International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO David Richardson hopes the 11th World Cup will instil fresh energy into the One-Day International (ODI) format, whose popularity has been shrinking following the arrival of shorter Twenty20 version.

Crowd figures in 50-over games have fallen in the recent past and there is a fear the concept will become irrelevant following the rise of T20 and the traditional popularity of Tests.

However, former South African cricketer Richardson on Thursday insisted the state of the ODI format is in a strong position globally.

”ODI cricket is strong in a number of countries. We’ve just seen a series recently in South Africa where there were full houses and you get good crowds in India and in most parts of the world,” Richardson said in an ICC release. Richardson feels that the format helps evolution of the other two versions.

“I still think that ODI cricket is the perfect bridge between Test cricket, the long traditional form of the game, and the short, entertainment-filled T20. The 50-over game is a marvellous, day’s entertainment,” he said.

”With the current ODI regulations encouraging a very attacking approach, be it towards batting, bowling or captaincy, I think that this World Cup will help cement the ODI’s place for the future.”

On how he would like the quadrennial tournament to be remembered, he added: “For good cricket, as major events are defined by the quality and competitiveness of cricket.”

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