Today, the ECB have announced that four changes, recommended by the Cricket Advisory Group, have been made to the regulations and playing conditions for the 2024 domestic cricket season.
The following changes in Regulations and Playing Conditions have been approved for the 2024 domestic summer.
The changes have been made following recommendations from the Cricket Advisory Group, which includes current men’s and women’s Directors of Cricket, players from the men’s county and women’s regional teams as well as representatives from the Professional Cricketers’ Association, Head Grounds Managers and officials.
The CAG forms its recommendations following discussion and analysis of domestic cricket, which are then sent to the ECB’s Professional Game Committee to be considered for approval.
A drawn match in the 2024 County Championship will be rewarded with eight points for each county, which is an increase from the five points awarded for a drawn match last season.
The CAG debated whether last season’s change to five points for a draw, allied to the change in batting bonus points, had achieved what it set out to do - which was to encourage teams to bat long yet still incentivise a win.
It was felt that the two changes had perhaps worked against one another and therefore the draw points should return to eight, but that batting points remain the same (250-450 run range), which would still incentivise the preparation of good pitches.
Following the two-round trial of the Kookaburra ball in the County Championship last season, the PGC approved a recommendation to increase the use of the Kookaburra to four rounds next summer.
The specific rounds in which the Kookaburra ball will be used are still to be determined. The ECB can, however, confirm that the matches will happen in two separate consecutive rounds of two matches each.
The first two rounds are set to occur in the early part of the season (April-May) when all 18 counties are playing. The second two rounds are set to be staged in the latter part of the season (August-September), again when all 18 counties are playing, but will not be staged in the final two rounds.
2024 will provide more opportunity to assess and interrogate data collected for use of the Kookaburra ball in the County Championship, and how that affects performance and other skills – such as reverse swing and spin – in domestic four-day cricket in England and Wales.
The use of hybrid pitches will be permitted in the County Championship next season as part of a one-year trial.
The use of hybrid pitches has, until now, been limited to white-ball cricket. The one-year trial will assess the value of using hybrid pitches in multi-day cricket, with counties having the option whether to use hybrid pitches or not through the season.
In men’s and women’s white-ball competitions – Vitality Blast, Charlotte Edwards Cup, Metro Bank One-Day Cup and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy – if a final cannot be constituted then the trophy will be shared rather than the use of a ‘bowl-out’ to determine the champions.
Each white-ball knockout match will continue to have a reserve day in place to mitigate against a match not being constituted. It was determined that a ‘bowl-out’ was an unsatisfactory way to determine the winner of a final.