MCC changes fielder movement Law

Smith's catch against Pakistan is a prime example of the new Law

Smith’s catch to dismiss Alam is a prime example of the new Law

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have made revisions to the Laws surrounding fielders moving when a batsman alters his stance at the crease.

Batsmen nowadays are a lot more adventurous with their strokeplay as the switch-hit and reverse sweep suggest. But, should they change their stance to play these strokes before the ball has reached them, fielders are now allowed to change their position.

A perfect example of this occurred in 2014 when Australia’s Steve Smith moved from slip to leg-slip take a catch that would dismiss Pakistan all-rounder Fawad Alam in an ODI in Abu Dhabi.

Previously, under Laws 41.7 and 41.8, Smith’s actions would have resulted in a dead ball being called as “significant movement … before the ball reaches the striker” was deemed “unfair”.

However, those Laws have now been replaced by a brand new Law 41.7, which deems it fair for all fielders, except the wicketkeeper, to move if the batsman is getting ready to play a pre-meditated shot.

“As the Guardian of the Laws and Spirit of cricket, it is important that MCC continues to keep pace with the game’s development, and that’s why we have made these changes to the Laws,” MCC’s head of cricket John Stephenson told reporters. “Steve Smith’s excellent catch in Abu Dhabi last year illustrated that such skilful anticipation by a fielder should be within the Laws of the game, and these changes now make that the case.”

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