The International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced two new rules for the shortest format of the game which will come into effect from January 17. While one of the ICC new rules for T20I is associated with an in-match penalty for slow over-rate, the other is about optional drinks break during the innings.

West Indies’ one-off T20I against Ireland on January 17 will be the first match that will feature the new rules. For women’s cricket, the first T20I between South Africa Women and West Indies Women on January 18 will mark the application of the new regulations.

Here is all you need to know about ICC’s new rules for T20I.

In-match penalty for slow over rate: What is it?

If the bowling team fails to bowl the first ball of the final over of their innings within the stipulated time, they will lose one fielder from outside of the 30-yard circle for the remainder of the innings. 

For example, if a team is bowling the 17th over after the mandatory 85-minute time limit that teams have to complete their overs, then the bowling side will have to bowl as many as three overs with four fielders outside the inner circle instead of five.

The ICC has adopted the idea from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which had introduced the same set of regulations for their white-ball tournaments last year.

The fielding teams are now needed to start the final over of their innings by the 85th-minute mark to avoid any such penalty. The third umpire and the match officials will keep a tab on the time. However, any time lost due to injury or other unforeseen incidents will be taken into consideration and a reworked time-limit will be set as per the umpire’s discretion.

"In delayed or interrupted matches where there has been a reduction of 3 or more overs the fielding side shall be in position to bowl the first ball of the penultimate over of the innings by the scheduled (or re-scheduled) cessation time for the innings," the ICC said.

The ICC has introduced the rule in order to improve the playing conditions of T20 cricket. As the final few overs are important in any T20I match, teams will look to abide by the new rules so that they do not lose an extra boundary fielder at critical stages of matches which could end up being game-defining.

Optional drinks break

The other new rule recently introduced by the ICC will allow players to have an optional drinks break of two minutes and thirty seconds during the midpoint of each innings. However, both teams should agree to this rule prior to the start of the series.

“An optional drinks break of two minutes and thirty seconds may be taken at the midpoint of each innings subject to agreement between Members at the start of each series,” read a statement from ICC.

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Featured photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi