The convention of a new batsman going to the non-striker’s end if the dismissal involves the batting pair crossing will be done away with for the Hundred, the ECB has confirmed, part of a raft of playing conditions that have been agreed on for next year’s domestic programme, including the reinstatement of the toss in all Championship games and a change to over-rate penalties in the shorter formats.
The Hundred is set to make its debut next summer, with eight new teams playing 100-ball innings that do away with traditional overs. Several other details have now been revealed, including one experimented with at the 2018 trial days – that a new batsman will be on strike even if the wicket came via a catch and the batsmen crossed while running (except at the change of ends).
Trent Woodhill, who worked with the ECB as a consultant on the project, explained the thinking at Trent Bridge last year. “The bowler has created an advantage by taking a wicket,” he said. “There’s got to be a reward for that, and he gets to take advantage by being able to bowl at the new batsman.”
The use of strategic timeouts had been previously signposted, but the mechanics have now been ironed out. One break of two-and-a-half minutes will be allowed per innings, called by the fielding side at any point after the initial 25-ball Powerplay. Even if it is not used by the team fielding first, the timeout will remain an option for the team fielding second – although there may be a provision for the umpires to rule out further delays if rain is imminent.
Another innovation comes in the way slow over rates will be dealt with in the Hundred, T20 Blast and Royal London Cup from next season. Instead of a penalty of six runs per over not completed before the cut-off, the fielding side will be allowed one fewer player outside the 30-yard circle for however many deliveries remain after the time limit is up.
In the Championship, the ECB has decided to revert to the toss being employed at the start of all games, as previously reported by ESPNcricinfo. It is hoped that changes to the seam of the Dukes ball used in 2019, as well as the prospect of tougher pitch penalties, will encourage a better balance between bat and ball – although the board has not ruled out the use of uncontested tosses in future. There are currently no plans to use the Kookaburra ball in Championship cricket, although a white Dukes could be tested in the 50-over competition.
It has also been confirmed that players drafted for the Hundred will not be available for the group stages of the Royal London Cup. For the loaning of players between counties, there will now be a minimum loan period of 21 days. All of the playing conditions for 2020 have been approved by the ECB board, after recommendations from the ECB’s cricket committee.