13 Mar 2019

Cricket: Standard ball and shot clock could be introduced

12:07 pm on 13 March 2019

A countdown clock for the end of an over and a standard ball in Test cricket are among changes that have been suggested by a group of leading figures in the sport.

The MCC World Cricket committee has proposed playing the World Test Championship, which begins with this year's Ashes, with a standardised ball.

The committee is an independent panel that can propose changes to the laws.

Three different brands of red ball are currently used in Tests.

Balls during Day1 of the Second International Cricket Test match, New Zealand V England, Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand, 30th March 2018.Copyright photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Standardising cricket balls is being recommended for test cricket. Photo: Photosport

A Dukes ball is used for Tests in England and West Indies, while the SG ball is used in India. All other countries play the longer format with a Kookaburra ball.

The committee - which includes ex-Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne and former England captain Mike Gatting - said the "balance between bat and ball is crucial".

They also suggested measures to speed up play in Tests, including:

*Free hit to follow a no-ball in Test cricket

*A timer or countdown clock to count down from 45 seconds from the call of "over"

*If either side is not ready when the clock reaches zero, they would receive a warning

*Further infringements in that innings would result in five penalty runs being awarded to the opposition

*A timer when a wicket falls to ensure batsmen and fielders are in position in time.

Free hits after a no-ball are already used in limited-overs formats.

Ninety overs should be bowled in a full day's play, with an extra 30 minutes available if teams need to make up time.

A survey conducted by the MCC said 25% of fans from England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa said slow over rates put them off attending Tests.