RULE CHANGE: New regulations governing player behaviour have come into force – but how will they be enforced in games where players are officiating (inset)?
RULE CHANGE: New regulations governing player behaviour have come into force – but how will they be enforced in games where players are officiating (inset)?

IT may have been snowing hard outside, but cricket was very much on the minds of those who attended a meeting at Barnard Castle CC last week.

Changes to a number of laws and playing conditions were outlined by David Oliver, umpire co-ordinator for the NYSD and ECB Association of Cricket Officials lead tutor for the Teesside area.

Barnard Castle CC and a number of Darlington and District Cricket League teams were represented at the meeting.

Those present were told the introduction of new regulations and sanctions regarding player behaviour, brought in last October, were the biggest changes to the laws of game.

Mr Oliver explained the new law 42 now laid down four levels of offences.

Level 1 – the most minor infringements – includes showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action, making obscene gestures and excessive appealing.

Level 2 covers inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players and throwing a ball at another player.

Intimidating an umpire by language or gesture and threatening to assault another player comes under level 3, while threatening to assault an umpire, physically assaulting a player or any other person and committing any other violent act are among level 4 offences.

First time level 1 offenders will receive a warning, after which a five-run penalty can be imposed.

The offending team receives an automatic five-run penalty for level 2 offences, while a level 3 offence will result in the offending player being sent off for 20 per cent of the overs, not exceeding ten, along with a five-run penalty.

Sam Turner

Anyone judged to have committed the most serious offences will be sent off from the match and cost his side five runs.

Discussion among the district league players present was how these offences and sanctions could be enforced in games where there are no qualified umpires standing.

In other changes, Mr Oliver said batsmen could now be caught out off a helmet warn by any member of the fielding side.

It is also now an offence to bowl a deliberate no-ball and if the bowler sends down a delivery that bounces more than once, this is now to be called a no-ball.

Any ball delivered above waist height – irrespective of whether it is sent down by a fast or slow bowler – is now a no-ball.

Mr Oliver said the message to umpires from the ECB was to take the “safe and best” position on the field when officiating.

This might mean an official is now in the best position when judging a run-out.

“The safety of umpires is paramount with regards to positioning when in the field. I would rather have umpires who were safe than getting a ball behind the ear,” he said.

However, some parts of the umpire's role remain as they always did.

“Umpires have to be honest, unbiased, confident, knowledgable and responsible,” he said.