Proteas captain Faf du Plessis is pleased about some of the rule changes made in Test cricket. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – Faf du Plessis admitted on Wednesday that he still needed to get his head around the new ‘rule’ changes that will come into place for international cricket during the first Test against Bangladesh.

To be fair to Du Plessis and his team, many are quite simple.

Common sense has finally been applied to that run out situation where a bat bounces after it has passed the crease – a batsman can’t be out.

A batsman can now be out caught if the ball deflects off a helmet being worn by a wicket-keeper or close fielder.

If a ball bounces twice before reaching the batsman, it’s a no-ball; and byes and leg-byes off no balls will count as byes and leg-byes and not no-balls.

There are a couple of other ‘new rules’ too, with the ones that are getting the most publicity being about bat sizes – specifically the depth of the blade, the red cards for ill-discipline and of course the new structure for DRS.

The red card is really for extreme situations, and is more applicable to the lower tiers of the sport where there have been some extraordinary incidents of assault and extreme verbal abuse.

Rarely, in recent times at international level, has there been the need to remove a player from the game for a Level 4 offence – which the red card punishment covers – and it will be interesting to see how it applies at the lower levels for which it appears to be intended.

As for bat sizes, well, it’s about darn time.

The thickness of the edge can be no more than 40mm, and the thickness of the bat must not exceed 67mm at any point.

Bats have gotten out of control, and coupled with the smaller boundaries that are commonplace nowadays, it’s swung the advantage too far in batsmen’s favour.

Du Plessis doesn’t believe any of his players will be affected by that change, but again, it will be interesting to observe what impact that change has, especially in the T20 format.

Du Plessis welcomed the new DRS rule where teams will no longer lose a challenge if it’s found to be an ‘umpire’s call’.

“This gives you the opportunity if you make the right decision that you don’t lose your review, that’s very good,” said the Proteas captain.

Of course, the ICC giveth and it taketh away, for reviews will no longer be replenished after 80 overs, as has been the case.

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” said Du Plessis, “we’ll just have to be careful then, can’t listen to Quinny (de Kock) as much.”


The Star