The ICC Cricket Committee will hold its two-day annual meeting in Mumbai at the end of this month. The panel, which is chaired by former India skipper Anil Kumble, is also expected to watch the IPL final on June 1.
Sources say the committee is expected to discuss the four-fielder regulation as well as the two-new-balls rule — both of which apply to ODI cricket — at the meeting. It is common knowledge that several captains, including MS Dhoni, are not in favour of these rules primarily because they have reduced bowlers to spectators.
According to the ICC's playing conditions for ODIs, which have seen more changes than a model's wardrobe, no more than four fielders shall be permitted outside the 30-yard circle in the non-powerplay overs.
These account for 30 of the 50 overs. Also, each fielding team operates with two new balls, to be used in alternate overs (one from each end). While the first rule has enabled batsmen to chase 350-plus targets with ridiculous ease, the second one has rendered the spinners rather ineffective. After all, the ball will not be older than 25 overs at any given point in time.
During the World Twenty20 in bangaldesh, ICC chief executive Dace Richardson had ruled out an immediate change to the rules. "We're not going to consider any changes prior to the World Cup. After the World Cup, the rules will be reviewed by the (ICC) Cricket Committee again. As I said, we wanted to create a more attacking 50-over game, one that could compete on the entertainment scales with T20 cricket," the former South African wicketkeeper had said.
The issue has already been discussed at the ICC Chief Executives' Committee as well as the all-powerful ICC Board. "The Cricket Committee may or may not table these issues. The ICC Board has already taken suo-motu congisance of this," a source in the world body said.
The committee also comprises Alan Isaac (president), David Richardson (CEO), Andrew Strauss & Mark Taylor (past players), Kumar Sangakkara & Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (representatives of current players) Darren Lehmann & Ottis Gibson (full member team coach representative) among several others.
Given India's Numero Uno status in world cricket, don't be surprised if Dhoni has his way sooner than later.