The ICC has released rule changes to the game of One Day International (ODI) cricket which will be broadly introduced for a long term trial on 31 July.
However, Australia and England will trial those rule changes from 7 July in the NatWest Challenge. I hadn’t absorbed this until recently but there is a NatWest Series – the triangular series being played at present and it is also deemed necessary to have a NatWest Challenge. This is the traditional three match head-to-head ODI series between Australia and England. Now, I like ODI cricket and all, but I have to wonder if all this one day cricket and just a single first class warm up is the ideal preparation for an Ashes series.
I have been having a read of Steve Waugh’s Ashes 2001 diary and note that the NatWest final was 23 June 2001. There were then three day matches before the first Test and no NatWest Challenge. I had thought of doing the odd “what they were doing four years” ago flashback. But on 30 June 2001, Steve Waugh and his family went to Euro Disney with his family. So I’ll be sticking to 2005.
Anyway, back to the rule changes. They are:
1. An extension of the fielding restrictions that apply for the first 15 overs to 20 overs. But there is a twist: It will be mandatory for the restrictions to apply for the first ten overs. The other ten overs will be applied at the fielding captain’s discretion, in two blocks of five overs. These blocks will be known as Powerplay (which I think is an ice hockey term) overs and just two fielders will be permitted to field outside of the “circle”. However, the two men in catching positions rule will not apply.
2. The 12th man will become a substitute. At any time in the match, the twelfth man can be introduced, replacing one of the starting eleven for the remainder of the match. He will have full rights playing rights, being able to bat and bowl.
For those of you who don’t care about ODI cricket, the first Test starts on Thursday, 21 July. I’ll be all-nighting at andrewg’s on the Gold Coast to see it in.