The International Cricket Council (ICC) has introduced some rule changes in its latest reshuffle aimed at improving the game.

The changes were announced after the Chief Executives’ Committee approved recommendations made by the Men’s and Women’s Cricket Committees.

In a welcome change, ICC has scrapped the “Soft Signal” rule. The on-field umpires will no longer be asked to give their opinion on the catch with the decision being made through communication between the umpires and the TV umpire.

Another change has been made concerning the Free Hit rule.

A batter will now be allowed to run even if they are bowled off the free hit with any runs scored counting as fair.

There was also a minor addition to the Free Hit rule with any runs scored off a Free Hit when the ball hits the stumps counted as runs scored from now, said ICC in a statement.

The final rule changes brought forward by the ICC concern player safety during games.

From now wearing a helmet is necessary for:

  • Any batter facing a fast bowler
  • Any wicket-keeper standing up to the stumps
  • Any fielders close to the batter in front of the wicket.

The changes will come into effect on 1 June 2023 when England faces Ireland in a four-day Test match.

Rule changes are nothing new in cricket. ICC and MCC constantly working on ways to improve the game.