sport

MCC rule on breaking stumps

Umpires will call a no-ball if bowlers break the stumps in their delivery stride in future, it has been announced.

The MCC - guardians of the laws of the game - have moved to clear up confusion over the issue following a number of recent incidences, particularly involving England paceman Steven Finn.

Finn was even named in the MCC's official news release on the rule change, which will come into effect from October 1.

The present laws do not specifically address the issue, although the umpire can call dead ball if the batsman is distracted.

In recent months Finn has caught the stumps with his knee on a number of occasions and has either been warned or had dead ball called, with no uniformity across different series.

MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said: "MCC continues to act as a robust guardian of the laws of cricket, and must ensure that it consults widely within the amateur and professional game before making changes that will affect anyone who plays the game.

"MCC's decision today to make the breaking of the stumps during the act of delivery a no-ball provides clarity to the situation and removes the need for a subjective assessment to be made by the umpire as to whether the striker has been genuinely distracted or not.

"It also ensures that the striker will still be credited with any runs that he scores from the delivery, and will act as a significant disincentive to the bowler from doing it."

Until the law comes into full effect at the end of the next English domestic season, the International Cricket Council could introduce a playing condition to apply the rule in international matches.