The newly constituted ICC Cricket Committee concluded its two-day meeting in Dubai on Thursday evening.

The group was chaired by former India captain and ICC Cricket World Cup winner Sunil Gavaskar and included former Australia captain Mark Taylor, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and Michael Holding, the ex-West Indies fast bowler.

It also featured Umpire of the Year Simon Taufel, chief ICC match referee and former Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madugalle, Craig Wright, the former Scotland captain, Tom Moody, the ex-Australia all-rounder who recently coached Sri Lanka to the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean and Tim May, former Australia off-spinner and the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations.

The ICC Cricket Committee is empowered to make recommendations which then go forward to the Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) for approval. If that approval is forthcoming then the decisions can be ratified at the ICC Board.

As such, any recommendations made by the ICC Cricket Committee will not take effect until they are ratified and/or approved by CEC and the Board.

Both CEC and the ICC Board are scheduled to meet in London from 24 June.

The following were among the issues covered by the ICC Cricket Committee:

Ball tampering

The committee was asked by the ICC Board to review the Law as it relates to ball tampering. This followed the events at the Test match in August when the umpires awarded the match to England on the grounds of Pakistan's refusal to play after it was accused of ball tampering.

The committee recommended that:

  • Clause 42.1 of the Standard Playing Conditions is amended to clarify that when an incident of ball tampering is reported to the ICC match referee, action shall be taken under the ICC Code of Conduct as appropriate against the person/s responsible for the conduct.
  • The definition of ball tampering as contained in the Laws remains unchanged.
  • The guideline to the offence CC 2.9 of the Code of Conduct is amended to the following:

Any action/s likely to alter the condition of the ball which are not specifically permitted under Law 42.3 (a) may be regarded as ‘unfair'. The following actions shall not be permitted (This list of actions is not exhaustive but included for illustrative purposes):

Deliberately throwing the ball into the ground for purposes of roughing it up Applying any artificial substance to the ball; and applying any non-artificial substance for any purpose other than to polish the ball Lifting or otherwise interfering with any of the seams of the ball Scratching the surface of the ball with finger or thumb nails or any implement

The umpires shall use their judgement to apply the principle that actions taken to maintain or enhance the condition of the ball, provided no artificial substances are used, shall be permitted. Any actions taken with the purpose of damaging the condition of the ball or accelerating the deterioration of the condition of the ball shall not be permitted.

The standard ICC playing conditions for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 matches can be found at: http://www.icc-cricket.com/icc/rules/

ODI playing conditions

The committee made the following recommendations:

  • The use of power-plays should continue although it resolved that an additional fielder (making three in total instead of the current limit of two) should be allowed outside the 30 yard circle during the second or third power-play.
  • That the idea of the captain of the batting side being able to choose when to take one of the power-plays be trialed in Australia and any other Member that wishes to do so.
  • The current required over-rate of 14.28 overs per hour be continued but with a concerted effort by all parties to maintain and improve over-rates wherever possible: umpires should be empowered to impose time wasting penalties as allowed for under the Law if a new batsman is not ready to face his first delivery within two minutes of the fall of the previous wicket.
  • If the last wicket in the first innings of a match falls within 30 minutes of the scheduled interval then the interval should be taken immediately with the second innings then starting correspondingly earlier (thus removing the possibility of a break of up to 75 minutes).
  • If up to 60 minutes is lost during the scheduled first innings then there is no reduction in the interval; if more than 60 minutes is lost then the interval can be reduced to 30 minutes; and the minimum interval should be 20 minutes.
  • There should be a mandatory change of ball after 35 overs.
  • A free hit should be introduced for the delivery that follows a front-foot no-ball
  • On grounds where space allows, boundaries should be pushed back to a maximum of 90 yards; square boundaries should be a minimum of 150 yards from one side to the other with a minimum of 65 yards on one side; straight boundaries should be 140 yards from one side to the other.

Glue on pitches

The committee recommended that the use of adhesives in the preparation of pitches for international matches should be discontinued.

Referrals to TV umpire

The committee recommended the maintenance of the current regulations, which allow umpires to consult with TV officials on the subject of clean catches only if both on-field umpires are unsighted.

The committee also decided against recommending a trial of the use of player appeals to the TV umpire at this year's ICC World Twenty20 2007 - South Africa; instead it suggested that the system be trialed in as many countries as possible (it is currently being used in one domestic competition in the UK) so that further evidence on its effectiveness or otherwise can be obtained.

International umpiring

The committee recommended the setting up of a task force with an independent chairman to look at how best to take international umpiring to the next level.

The task force's remit would include deciding how best to structure the International and Elite Panels; looking at how support structures for umpires can be financed and put in place; umpires' remuneration; and whether or not it is appropriate for umpires to be able to stand in Tests and ICC events where their home country/Member is involved.

Zimbabwe

The committee did not support the return of Zimbabwe to Test cricket until such time as the team demonstrates its ability to perform at a standard that does not risk undermining the integrity of Test cricket.

In order to be able to judge when Zimbabwe's performance merits a return to Test cricket, the committee felt the team first needed to continue in its current practice of playing a number of representative four-day matches. The committee encouraged the scheduling of such matches against ICC Full Member A teams and Associates with, for example, the inclusion of Zimbabwe in the next ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Volume of cricket

The committee expressed concern about the congestion in the international calendar and, in particular, the addition of many ODIs which, it felt, may have a severe impact on the quality, intensity and standard of international cricket and may result in injuries to players and a dearth of fast bowlers.