Follow-on Rule for WTC Final Clarified by the ICC
The follow-on rule will remain unchanged at the World Test Championship final, even if the first day of the match is washed out, according to a clarification by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Ordinarily, in Test matches, the follow-on rule would have been revised if a day’s play was washed out. The ICC’s decision not to revise the rule is reportedly based on the addition of an extra day to the WTC final scheduled to be held in Southampton, England, between June 18 and 23.
The Normal Rule
According to clause 14.1.1 of the ICC playing conditions, if the side batting first in a Test match gains a lead of at least 200 runs, it can choose to enforce the follow-on and making the other side follow their innings. According to clause 14.1.2, the choice of enforcing a follow-on will also be available in curtailed games to the team batting first. If the match took place over 3 or 4 days, a first-innings lead of 150 would be sufficient to allow the enforcement of follow-on. In a match reduced to two days, the requisite lead to enforce a follow-on would be 100 runs. If the match were reduced to a single day, then a 75-run lead would suffice to allow the team batting first to require the other side to follow their innings.
An additional provision in clause 14.3 reads as follows, “If no play takes place on the first and second days of the match, clause 14.1 shall apply in accordance with the number of days remaining (including the scheduled Reserve Day) from the start of play. The day on which play first commences shall count as a whole day for this purpose, irrespective of the time at which play starts. Play will have taken place as soon as, after the call of Play, the first over has started.”
Rule Unchanged Due to Reserve Day
The ICC has recently communicated to India and New Zealand, the two teams set to meet in the WTC final, stating that the cricket’s governing body had amended clause 14.3 to allow the first innings lead of at least 200 runs to change to 150 runs only if there is no play on the first two scheduled days of the World Test Championship final. The ICC has clarified that under normal conditions, the lead requirement would reduce to 150 runs if no play were possible on the first day, but as a reserve day had been provided for the WTC final, there would still be five remaining if the first day’s play was lost. “It remains a 5-day match even if the first day is lost.”
ICC Weighs in
In a statement released to media outlets on 27 May, the ICC has also clarified regarding the player review, “Player Review – this is a new standard playing condition. Previously the playing conditions prevented a player from asking the umpire any questions before launching a review which led to the unreasonable loss of a review when the player and umpire had a different opinion on whether a shot had been played. This has been changed to allow either the fielding captain or the dismissed batter to ask the umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball prior to deciding whether to initiate a player review.”
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