The International Cricket Council’s board met in Ahmedabad on Tuesday where it came up with a new gender eligibility regulation, pay parity for umpires, introduction of a stop clock on trial basis to speed up play and to move the ICC men’s U-19 World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa. Here are the key takeaways.
Six years after the MCC’s cricket committee – that included the likes of Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara and Sourav Ganguly – recommended a ‘shot clock’ to prevent teams from wasting time, the ICC board has introduced a stop-clock system. Under this regulation, which will come into effect from December 1 and continue till April 2024, a clock will be used to regulate the amount of time taken between overs.
So how does it exactly work?
Once an over is finished, the fielding team will have to be ready within 60 seconds to bowl the next over. The match officials will start the stop-clock once an over is called. “If the bowling team is not ready to bowl the next over within 60 seconds of the previous over being completed, a five-run penalty will be imposed the third time it happens in an innings,” the ICC said.
What is the need for a stop-clock?
Simply, to improve over rates. Last year, taking cue from T20 leagues, the ICC introduced an in-game penalty in ODIs and T20Is. As per the existing rule, if the fielding side is behind the clock by the time the innings is supposed to be finished, they have to bring in an additional fielder inside the 30-yard circle for those many overs. But despite this, there were numerous instances where teams still lagged behind. Now with the introduction of a stop-clock and five penalty runs, teams would be punished more heavily in the match itself, while the old monetary fines will continue to be applicable.
No transgenders in cricket
Similar to what other sports bodies have done, the ICC has revised its transgender policy. Under the new regulations, any player who has transitioned from male to female and has been through any form of male puberty will not be allowed to participate in women’s international cricket, regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken.
What was ICC’s earlier criteria?
Earlier, a transgender woman had to keep testosterone serum to 5 nanomoles or below for a period of 12 months. This was in line with the International Olympic Committee’s recommendations. But with the IOC recommending that each sport come up with its own policies, the ICC has revised its stand. The new rule means Canada’s Danielle McGahey, who became the first transgender player to feature in international cricket earlier this year, will no longer be eligible to play women’s cricket. McGahey, originally from Australia, had fulfilled ICC’s old criteria that made her eligible to play in the Women’s T20 Qualifiers for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
How do other sports deal with the issue
World Athletics says no transgender athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions. FINA – swimming’s world governing body – also stops transgender athletes from competing in women’s elite races if they had gone through any part of the process of male puberty. In 2020, World Rugby became the first international sports federation to say transgender women cannot compete at the elite and international level of the women’s game.
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Under-19 World Cup in South Africa
With Sri Lanka Cricket placed under suspension because of government interference, the ICC has moved next year’s Men’s Under-19 World Cup to South Africa. Though it gave the nod for Sri Lanka to compete internationally in bilateral and ICC events, the country has been stripped of hosting rights of the age-group competition, which would be a definite blow to their economy that is dependent on tourism and hospitality. While UAE was also considered as a possible host, since the tournament clashes with ILT20 in the Emirates, the ICC picked South Africa as it has a range of venues. The Rainbow Nation had hosted the event in 2020, when India made it to the final and lost to Bangladesh. The 16-team tournament will commence in the second week of January and run till the first week of February at four venues. With SA20 also scheduled to run simultaneously, it is not clear yet which venues will stage the U-19 World Cup.
The Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) of the ICC endorsed a plan to accelerate the development of female match officials. This includes, having equal match day pay for ICC umpires across men’s and women’s cricket. And from January 2024, in every ICC women’s championship series, there will be one neutral umpire.