The idea is to select a team of 12 with only 11 players permitted to bat and field. It will be on the lines of the 'Super-sub' concept that was introduced by the ICC in ODIs. This would mean that one player would be an out-and-out specialist who would either bat or bowl as per his role mentioned during the toss at the start of the game, if at all the ECB goes ahead with the idea of a toss and doesn't drop that too for the format.
The ICC had introduced the ‘Super-sub’ concept in 2005. As per rules, each side was allowed to make one substitution during a match. While the ICC had hoped that it would be a hit, the concept was widely unpopular and was dropped in 2006, after a 10-month trial, with then ICC president Malcolm Speed saying: “From the feedback we have received from captains and former players it was apparent we should not continue with it.”
This comes as another plan that will be a first in this league after last week’s confirmation that all overs will be five-ball ones and not the conventional six-ball overs. The ECB already has the go-ahead from the MCC with regards to new playing rules as it said that the board is free to create new playing regulations for the tournament.
The whole idea to make it a 12-a-side format is to ensure that the level of competition is intense with a tailender being replaced by a specialist batsman and a poor fielder being replaced by one who is a livewire on the field. Also, the teams don’t have to sweat over bowling compositions as they can have five specialist bowlers.
This is a format that comes from one of America’s favourite sport – baseball. In baseball, there is a designated hitter which ensures that the pitcher doesn’t have to do hitting duties. The hitter doesn’t take the field and is also at time one of the not so athletic fielder. This rule has been used in the American League, one of the two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the USA and Canada, since 1973. If the idea does get the final nod of approval, one could see some of the ageing stars benefiting from the rule.
First Published: July 24, 2018, 8:54 AM IST