In last decade, since 2010 cricket, its rules and the manner in which the game is played has evolved. From smashing a double ton in ODI’s to playing a Tests under lights, cricket over the last decade has witnessed major changes in the way it’s played.
Here in this article, we’ll look at some of the most significant changes that the game has seen over the last 10 years and how have the changes impacted the game.
Major Changes in Cricket Since 2010
- Two New Balls: In order to strike a balance between bat and ball, the ICC in 2011 introduced a rule to play two new balls from both ends in ODIs. The rule was initially brought to assist the bowlers, but turned out to be much more favourable for the batsman. With in field restrictions and heavy bats, the bowlers are having a hard time in limited overs cricket. Earlier, the ball was replaced only in the 35th over which helped the bowlers to got some reverse swing but with two new balls, it’s out of the equation now.
- Infield Restrictions And Powerplay:With more and more runs being scored, the ICC in 2015, to bring the game in equilibrium, made modifications in the fielding restrictions. The new rule allowed the teams to have 5 fielder outside the 30 yard circle in the last 10 overs. In the other two powerplays, i.e. In the firs powerplay from overs 1-10 2 fielders were allowed outside the circle and a maximum of 4 fielders were allowed outside the circle in the second powerplay from overs 11-40.
- Day – Night Test: The growing popularity of the T-20 cricket severely dented the charm of Test cricket. The audience were more interested in seeing massive sixes than a slow paced 5 day game. In order to revive the cricket’s greatest format, the ICC chalked out an idea to introduce pink ball aka day night Tests. Pink ball, led stumps, artificial lights created a beautiful environment that saw spectators returning back to the stadiums for Test matches. The ICC also recently allowed numbered and name imprinted Jersey’s in Tests to further enhance the experience.
- Auto No- Ball And Free Hit: While the players draw all appreciations, we must not forget the role of an umpire in cricket. It requires another level of concentration to remain focused on each and every ball and give a right decision. In order to help the on field umpires, the ICC recently brought an auto no ball feature. The rule is a real boon for the on-field umpires who will no longer monitor the no-balls, a task that now lies with the third umpire. Also, in 2015, the ICC modified the free hit rule which states that all no-ball will result in a free hit. Earlier, only the front foot no-ball was penalized with the free hit.
Auto no-ball explained by @sanjaymanjrekar— BCCI (@BCCI) December 6, 2019
Throughout this series, the third Umpire will look into every ball bowled and identify whether there has been any front foot infringement, thereby speeding up the process.
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- Double Tons And 400+ scores in ODIs: Since the time Sachin Tendulkar broke the 200 run barrier in 2010, ODI cricket has seen as many as 8 double ton, 3 from Rohit Sharma itself. Moreover, 350, which was often considered a winning total a decade ago has become just a par score with teams frequently getting past the mark. The past decade saw as many as 81 scores of 350+ which includes 13 matches where the team batting second successfully chased the target. Also, 12 scores of 400 or more was scored in the last 10 years. The game has really come a long way forward in the last few years.
- World Test Championship: Test cricket has always been looked as the cricket’s ultimate format. Strangely there was no event that could have been considered the pinnacle of Test cricket, like the ICC Cricket World Cup in ODI’s. In order to spice up the Tests, the ICC introduced the ICC World Test Championship in 2019 where the top 9 teams will play 6 bilateral series(3 home and 3 away) over a period of 2 years. Each series will constitute of 120 points and top two teams with highest points will compete in the final at Lords in 2021.
- Concussion Substitutes : Since the tragic incident against Phillip Hughes in 2014, ICC has been serious about the safety of it’s players. The ICC gave its nod to the concussion substitute in August last year. Marnus Labuschange was the first concussion substitute who replaced Steve Smith in the 2nd Ashes Test. Now any player who’s hit on the head will go through a concussion test and will be allowed a concussion substitute post the approval of the match referee.
- Decision Review System: The ICC introduced the Decision Review system introduced to prevent howlers. DRS since it’s introduction has attracted a lot of controversies with BCCI continuously oppose the use of the review system. There are several decisions that raises serious concern over it’s effectiveness but the technology has been accepted by every team now. It has added an another aspect to the game, decreasing the number of umpiring errors.
- No Runners: The ICC, in October 2011, also scrapped the rule to allow runners in International cricket. The rule however, attracted a lot of criticism as cricket as a sport can be really grueling and muscle crams and injuries such as hamstring pull are a genuine possibility.
- Demerit Points: “Cricket is a gentleman’s game” . We grew up listening to this statement but with time, as cricket became competitive, the game witnessed number of incident that degraded the integrity of the game. To curb this trend, the ICC brought in a demerit point system in September 2016. Any player who received more than 4 demerits points will be liable for suspension. Later ICC also allowed the umpired to use red cards to send players off the field in case of indulgence in violence and undue aggression.
- Two Bouncers – The ICC in 2012 allowed the use of two bouncers per over in One Day cricket. The rule was first used in 1994 where the bowlers were allowed to use two bouncers per over until in 2001, when ICC reverted to the original one bouncer per over rule. However, with the game heavily titled in favour of the batsman, ICC brought back rule to give some cushion to the bowlers.
Impact Of The Changes In Cricket Since 2010
Although the changes have titled the balance in favour of Batsmen as against bowlers in the earlier period, the changes have made the game more entertaining for the players, spectators and organizers. The increase in number of shorter format games has had its impact on the ODIs and Tests too. No total is insurmountable for the batsman on their day.
The ICC Test Championship along with day-night Tests have restored audiences to the most important format of the game. It is in the Tests where the skills, character and ability to bounce back is visible and the changes have made the test interesting. We must mention the pink ball under flood lights, although not as delightful as the red ball, are soothing to the eyes.