Use of saliva permanently banned: MCC makes new changes to laws of cricket

In a major development for the game of cricket, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has announced its new code of Laws for 2022, which will come into force from 1 October. The new changes were suggested by MCC Laws sub-committee, which were then approved at the Club’s Main Committee meeting last week.

Law 1 – Replacement players

The MCC has introduced a new clause, Law 1.3, according to which, the replacements will now be treated “as if they were the player they replaced, inheriting any sanctions or dismissals that player has done in that match.”

Law 18 – Batters returning when Caught

The two batters crossing each other during a catch will have no affect on the strike of the upcoming batter. Even if the batters cross each other, the new batter will take the strike unless it is the end of an over.

Law 20.4.2.12 – Dead ball

Several changes have been made to the Dead ball law. According to the new changes, if anyone of the two teams is disadvantaged by a person, animal or other object within the field of play, it will be called a Dead ball.

Pitch invader or a dog running onto the field has always been a common sight in cricket. The umpire will have to call it a Dead ball, if there is a pitch invader or a dog running onto the field, having a material impact on the game.

Law 21.4 – Bowler throwing towards striker’s end before delivery

It will now be called a dead ball, if the bowler attempts to run out the striker before entering his delivery stride. It has rarely happened and was called No ball until now.

Law 22.1 – Judging a Wide

In the modern game, batters are, more than ever, moving laterally around the crease before the ball is bowled.

It was felt unfair that a delivery might be called ‘Wide’ if it passes where the batter had stood as the bowler entered his/her delivery stride. Therefore, Law 22.1 has been amended so that a Wide will apply to where the batter is standing, where the striker has stood at any point since the bowler began their run up, and which would also have passed wide of the striker in a normal batting position. 

Law 25.8 – striker’s right to play the ball

The batter has been allowed to hit the ball if it lands away from the pitch as long as some part of their bat or person remains within the pitch. Should they venture beyond that, the umpire will call and signal Dead ball. According to the new rules, it will be called a No ball if it forces the batter to leave the pitch.

Laws 27.4 and 28.6 – Unfair movement by the fielding side

This rule has been introduced to benefit the batting side. Before this, an unfair movement on the fielding side’s part was punished only with a ‘Dead ball’ – potentially cancelling a perfectly good shot by the batter. Now, the batting side will be rewarded with 5 Penalty runs.

Law 38.3 – moving the running out of the non-striker

Law 41.16 – running out the non-striker – has been moved from Law 41 (Unfair play) to Law 38 (Run out). The wording of the Law remains the same.

Law 41.3 – No saliva

When cricket resumed following the onset of Covid-19, playing conditions were written in most forms of the game stating that applying saliva to the ball was no longer permitted. MCC’s research found that this had little or no impact on the amount of swing the bowlers were getting. Players were using sweat to polish the ball, and this was equally effective.

The new Laws will not permit the use of saliva on the ball, which also removes any grey areas of fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva to apply to the ball. Using saliva will be treated the same way as any other unfair methods of changing the condition of the ball. 

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