ECB eases youth bowling limit

YOUTH fast bowlers will be permitted to bowl more overs per spell from next summer so that they can develop “match-winning habits” after the ECB announced a change of policy today, but the maximum overs per day in the 18 and 19 age group has been cut under new guidelines.

The ECB Fast Bowling Directives have changed after a two-year consultation process. The main outcome is that bowlers up to under-15 level are now able to bowl longer spells and more overs in a day.

Under the new guidelines bowlers at under-16 and under-17 level are now permitted to bowl an extra over per spell, but those in the under-18 and under-19 category have had the total number of overs they can deliver per day reduced from 21 to 18.

These guidelines will come into effect for the start of the 2010 season. The ECB’s guidelines are designed to raise awareness of the need to nurture and protect young fast bowlers through their formative years, a principle that has been followed by club cricket.

Kevin Shine, ECB lead fast bowling coach, said: “The Elite Fast Bowling Group has been researching injury prevention, performance enhancement and workloads for the past four years. The new recommendations mean youngsters under the age of 15 can now bowl an additional over in a spell and two overs more in a day. These figures are over and above the original directives.

“It is clear that our young bowlers need to bowl more so that they can develop match winning abilities and habits, and I look forward to the revised directives giving individual fast bowlers and teams more of a chance to play match winning cricket.”

Research has shown that fast bowlers are by far the most likely cricketers to be missing playing and training time due to injury. The ECB say that for the purpose of these guidelines a fast bowler should be defined as a bowler to whom a wicketkeeper in the same age group would in normal circumstances stand back to take the ball.

ECB GUIDELINES

Age Updated spell Previous spell Updated max Previous max

Up to 13: 5 4 10 8

U14, U15: 6 5 12 10

U16, U17: 7 6 18 18

U18, U19: 7 7 18 21

CHARLIE SAYS: The ECB have done the right thing. The guidelines are a sensible way of reducing injury risk and reigning in irresponsible clubs, but the 14 and 15 year group were penalised.

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