Brearley and Marsh call for limits on bats

Cricket bat (Gallo Images)
Cricket bat (Gallo Images)

London - The World Cricket Committee of MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) has called for new limits on the size of bats in a bid to ensure an even contest between bat and ball.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the committee said they were concerned that the balance "has tilted too far in the batsman's favour".

Manufacturers have been producing thicker bats with ever larger "sweet spots".

While there are limitations on bat length -- when the lower portion of the handle is inserted it shall not be more than 38in/96.5cm -- and width -- 4.25in/10.8cm at its widest part -- none currently exist on the thickness of edges and overall depth.

"The time has come to restrict the size of bat edges and the overall width of bats," committee chairman Mike Brearley, told a news conference at Lord's.

"It was pointed out to us that, in 1905, the width of bats was 16mm and that, by 1980, it had increased to 18mm. It is now an average, in professional cricket, of 35-40mm and sometimes up to 60mm" the former England captain added.

"That shows how fast the change has been."

Fellow committee member Rodney Marsh, the head of Australia's selection panel, said: "The one thing we don't want to see is batsmen unable to hit fours and sixes.

"That's so far from what will happen," the former Australia wicket-keeper added.

"But when you see a guy try to hit the ball through mid-wicket and it flies for six over cover, you know something is wrong."

Meanwhile the statement also cited safety concerns as a reason for a clamp down on ever bigger bats.

"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," it said.

The World Cricket Committee has no power itself but makes recommendations to the main committee of MCC -- the owners of London's Lord's Cricket Ground and an organisation that still retains worldwide responsibility for the sport's Laws or rules.

There are now plans for talks with manufacturers in a bid to agree new bat dimensions.

It is now possible that an an amended Law could be included as part of a new Code of Laws due to be introduced on October 1, 2017.

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