Cricket seems such a simple game – one chap tries to hit the ball chucked by another chap at sticks in the ground called the wicket.
But the game is not simple anymore as cricket bat makers have tried to up the ante with new designs.
Some batsmen now go to the crease virtually carrying a log rather than the dainty bat of years gone by.
MCC – The Marylebone Cricket Club – which is the arbiter of worldwide rules for the game has now decided that a new rule will limit the thickness of bats.
Currently the game has no rules pertaining to the thickness of bats – but the rule makers want to shave them down to a maximum depth of between 60mm and 65mm, with a maximum edge thickness of between 35mm and 40mm.
Some batsmen are striking the ball with bats more than 80mm thick, which are now considered unfair play and not within the sense of the unwritten rules that govern the game.
If the new rules are agreed, they will take effect from October 1, 2017.
Bat technology has fuelled disagreements in the game for some time.
Some claim that thicker bats help batters to strike the ball harder and farther, allowing them to build up larger scores.
Others say this is incorrect and better pitches and changes in ball technology contribute more to higher scoring.
Both arguments are anecdotal without any scientific grounds.
MCC also wants to look at imposing weight limits on bats over safety concerns.
“The overwhelming but not unanimous view of the committee was that it has become too easy for batsmen to clear the boundary in all forms of cricket, even with mistimed shots,” said an MCC statement.
“Furthermore, it was felt that there is a clear safety concern for close fielders, bowlers and umpires, whilst the recreational game is also suffering, as balls are flying into nearby residential properties with increasing frequency, thus threatening the existence of some smaller cricket clubs.”
The statement also proposed cricket should be included in the 2024 Olympic Games and other rules to make the game more exciting for spectators, such as shorter games and night matches.