The MCC quashes Tendulkar’s suggestion

The MCC’s World Cricket Committee finds Sachin Tendulkar’s recent suggestion of playing the Ranji Trophy matches on two different pitches to be contrary to the competitiveness of first-class cricket.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting (second from left) explains the proposed rule with regard to the size of the bat's edge and depth. He is part of the MCC's World Cricket Committee that met in Mumbai on Wednesday. The other members are John Stephenson (left), chairman Mike Brearley (second from right) and Rameez Raja.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

The Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee has found Sachin Tendulkar’s recent suggestion of playing the Ranji Trophy matches on two different pitches to be contrary to the competitiveness of first-class cricket.

Former England captain Mike Brearley, who chairs MCC’s World Cricket Committee that governs the laws of the game, said after a two-day meeting here that such a move would turn first-class cricket into a “mere practice for international cricket”.

“We talked about that (Tendulkar’s suggestion) too and we talked about the conflict between using first-class matches as training and on the other hand, the fact that they are proper games of cricket in a proper competition, proper feeling that you’re in a real match,” Brearley said. “Those two things can be in conflict. I personally think the committee would have probably said the same that we felt that went too far in turning first-class cricket into mere practice for international cricket.”

Tendulkar had recently suggested the use of two pitches for two innings in the Ranji Trophy — one that would aid pacers and the other that would help spinners — in order to help Indian batsmen adapt better to a variety of playing conditions. Even Rameez Raja, the former Pakistan captain who is also a member of the committee, quashed the suggestion.

“It was discussed and there was an example given by Rod Marsh that a bowler bowled in the first innings of a first-class match, and he was taken out of the game for international cricket. Another player came in and bowled in his place. These should be competitive matches. First-class cricket is about playing competitive (matches), challenging yourself,” Raja said.

“It (playing on two pitches) will be like lessening the importance of first-class cricket. That is what the committee felt,” he added.

Here are some of the major recommendations of the high-profile World Cricket Committee:

* Bat size: edge and depth to be limited to 40mm and 67mm respectively.

* A red card as punishment for violent acts on the cricket field.

* The ball tampering law will not be changed.

* The Committee was split on the possibility of introducing four-day Test matches.

* The ICC urged to continue to work towards introducing a World Test Championship and presenting the case for cricket at the Olympics.

* The law on ball striking a fielder’s worn helmet to be changed. Catches and stumpings will be permitted after the ball has struck a fielder’s worn helmet.