Recently, the Indian cricket community was shocked by the announcements made by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), a governing body of Indian cricket, which functions include defining the direction Indian cricket will move in, and elaborating the rules of the game. According to BCCI officials, the upcoming T20 League will feature two major changes: the introduction of the “power player” and a separate umpire only to check if bowlers have overstepped the crease. Let’s talk about how these changes will change the game.
New Umpire Is Expected
The introduction of the new umpire makes total sense, according to article on SportsAdda.com, especially considering the controversial umpire’s decisions on the latest World Cup. In general, cricket follows the rest of team sports here: recently, we can see how sports organizations tend to pay more and more attention to the rules of the game and the role of the referee in it.
For example, in soccer, two additional line referees were introduced, near each goalkeeper. Also, the soccer world organization FIFA has recently introduced a Video Assistant referee feature, allowing referees to use video replay during the decision-making regarding the complicated situations on the field. The introduction of the new technologies and additional referees is also common for hockey and tennis. Hence, BCCI follows the same logic, trying to make our favorite game fairer.
It was already mentioned before that a new umpire will only check if the bowlers have overstepped the crease. The latter move seems valid, considering the several umpiring gaffes regarding no-balls last season. MS Dhoni infamously walked on the field after being dismissed when umpire Umang Gandhi retracted his original decision of signaling a no-ball for height in the match between the Chennai-based franchise and Rajasthan.
One More Controversial Change
Basically, in case of a fall of the wicket or at the end of the over, a player who was not initially the part of the starting XI can come into play and help his team depending on the situation in the game. This decision also follows the trends that are common for other sports, too.
In soccer, for example, FIFA wants to increase the number of substitutions. Also, according to the proposed changes, forced substitutions (the ones that were issued due to the trauma of the player) will not be counted towards the overall number of used substitutions. Such measures are supposed to make the game more engaging and unpredictable: if the coach can use a “power player” feature or substitute, he can change the flow of the game drastically. It may also lead to the emergence of more specialists in cricket.
As a result, the teams will have to announce 15 players instead of 11, and one player can substitute the other depending on the game situation. Though nothing has been made concrete yet, the BCCI may implement the rule at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. However, considering how cash-rich the Indian Premier League is, the fact that the franchises were not invited to the discussion by the BCCI, is at least strange. It may cause a significant backlash among the stakeholder of the industry.
As a conclusion, the decisions made by the Board for Control of Cricket of India follow the same logic as other sports organizations. These decisions are supposed to make the game fairer, but also more unpredictable and entertaining. We are yet to see how these changes are going to affect the game, but they will make the upcoming season more interesting.