New 'playing conditions' creates confusion in Rajkot

The new conditions mention that there should be bigger boundaries for international matches.

There seems to be a bit of problem over the area between the stands and the boundary at the the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

The revised playing conditions of the International Cricket Council (ICC), which came into effect on September 30, created a bit of confusion at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) on the eve of the first Test between India and the West Indies.

The new conditions mention that there should be bigger boundaries for international matches. The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium’s boundary is at a 73-yard distance from the center — well within the specified limits (clause 19.3 suggests that it should be within 65-90 yards). However, there seems to be a bit of problem over the area between the stands and the boundary.

While the playing area appears fine, there is a bit of extra distance behind the boundary, between the advertising fence and the stand — which is believed to be slightly more than the 10 yards, which is specified in the guidelines.

And that led to confusion as on Wednesday, the SCA officials claimed that the ICC match referee and former England opener, Chris Broad, apparently asked them to ‘increase the size of the boundary’, keeping the new guidelines in mind. However, the association informed him that such changes were not possible ‘at the last moment’.

 

Determining the boundary of the field of play

(The ICC men’s Test match playing conditions, effective from September 30, 2018)

Clause 19.1.1: Before the toss, the umpires shall determine the boundary of the field of play, which shall be fixed for the duration of the match.

Clause 19.1.2: The boundary shall be determined such that no part of any sightscreen, will, at any stage of the match, be within the field of play.

Clause 19.1.3: The aim shall be to maximize the size of the playing area at each venue. With respect to the size of the boundaries, no boundary shall be longer than 90 yards (82.29 meters), and no boundary should be shorter than 65 yards (59.43 metres) from the centre of the pitch to be used.

Clause 19.1.4: At all times, there must be 3 yards (2.74 meters) from the boundary rope to the first solid object (advertising boards/LEDs, photographers, cameramen, dug outs, covers, perimeter fence) for the player’s safety run off.

Clause 19.1.5: If the boundary is positioned less than 90 yards (82.29 meters) from the centre of the pitch, the boundary rope cannot be set at a distance of more than 10 yards (9.14 meters) from the perimeter fence. The 10 yards shall be inclusive of the 3 yards (2.74 meters) provided for the player’s safety run off.

Clause:19.1.6: Any ground which has previously been approved to host international cricket which is unable to conform to the minimum boundary dimension shall be exempt. In such cases the boundary shall be positioned so as to maximize the size of the playing area.

“We have a three-metre gap behind the boundary (till the advertisement board). That is something even the ICC has asked for the players’ safety run-off. But today (Wednesday) they inquired why the boundary size could not be increased?” former SCA secretary and Rajkot strongman, Niranjan Shah told Sportstar.

ICC’s clause 19.1.5 states, “If the boundary is positioned less than 90 yards (82.29 meters) from the centre of the pitch, the boundary rope cannot be set at a distance of more than 10 yards (9.14 meters) from the perimeter fence. The 10 yards shall be inclusive of the 3 yards (2.74 meters) provided for the player’s safety run off.”

Shah said that was kept for television crew and the photographers. He had a word with the ICC representatives and informed them that everything was already set up, so it was not possible to make the changes. “If they wanted to get things changed, they should have informed us at least three to four days in advance. Now, everything was set up, so there was no way we could fix this,” Shah said.

He also spoke to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regarding the matter. “I informed it to the Board about the whole thing,” he stated.

All this happened around 1.30-2pm, when the West Indies team was training at the ground.

The SCA Stadium — which is a regular venue for international fixtures — would, however, not face any sanctions as the clause 19.1.6 clearly states that “any ground which has previously been approved to host international cricket which is unable to conform to the minimum boundary dimension shall be exempted. In such cases the boundary shall be positioned so as to maximize the size of the playing area.”