London    -    The introduction of concussion replacements and a change to over-rate punishments were two of the major decisions made at the ICC Annual Conference in London, where the headline was the decision to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket with immediate effect.

The ICC Board unanimously decided that the Full Member had failed to fulfill their obligation to provide a process for free and democratic elections and to ensure that there is no government interference in its administration for cricket. ICC funding will be suspended, and representative teams from the country will be barred from participating at ICC events, putting their participation in October’s Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in jeopardy.

“We do not take the decision to suspend a Member lightly, but we must keep our sport free from political interference,” said ICC chairman Shashank Manohar. “What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked. The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution.”

The Croatia Cricket Federation and the Zambia Cricket Union have both also been suspended for continuing non-compliance with ICC Membership criteria. The Moroccan Royal Cricket Federation have continued to remain non-compliant with ICC Membership Criteria 2.2(b)(ii), 2.2(b)(iii), 2.2(b)(iv) and 2.2(e)(i) and as such has been expelled from Membership of the ICC.

Following a two-year trial of concussion replacements in domestic cricket, the ICC approved concussion player replacements in all formats of men’s and women’s international cricket and for first-class cricket worldwide. This will be included in ICC playing conditions from 1 August 2019. Decisions on replacements will continue to be made by the team medical representative and the player should be a like-for-like replacement who will need to be approved by the Match Referee.

Following recommendations from the Cricket Committee regarding the pace of play and slow over rates in international cricket, the ICC agreed that captains will no longer be suspended for repeated or serious over rate breaches, all players should be held equally responsible for slow over rates, and as such will be fined at the same level as the captain, in World Test Championship matches a team that is behind the required over rate at the end of a match will have two competition points deducted for each over it is behind.

The ICC endorsed the Cricket Committee recommendation that there should be further exploration of the use of replays to call No balls, and trials will be conducted over the coming months. The ICC approved a revised set of Medical Standards for ICC global and regional events and all other international cricket. The standards are aimed at driving greater consistency in medical care of players around the world.  Malaysia Cricket Association and Cricket Hong Kong have been approved as the hosts of the first events of the World Cup Challenge Leagues A and B. Sri Lanka will host the Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2020.

The newly-constituted ICC Women’s Committee met for the first time following a decision in the February meetings to change the composition and enhance the terms of the group in order to continue to accelerate the growth of the women’s game and women and girls following the game. Clare Connor remains as Chair of Committee and she is joined by Full Member CEOs Warren Deutrom (CI) and Wasim Khan (PCB); two co-opted representatives from Full Members, Saba Karim (BCCI) and Belinda Clark (CA); Natalie Germanos (SA) as a media representative, Lisa Stahelekar, Sana Mir and Mithali Raj as current player representatives and Mark Robinson as coach representative. An Associate Member representative will be voted onto the Committee and an independent representative will also be appointed in due course.

ICC CEO Manu Sawhney said: “We have had a very productive week of meetings at the ICC Annual Conference which brings together all ICC Members to celebrate the global game and learn from each other. “We want to drive the transformative global growth of the sport and that needs to be a collective effort involving the whole sport thinking big and thinking differently to deliver greater engagement in our sport.

Women’s cricket can play a significant role in this growth and as such I welcome the members of the newly constituted ICC Women’s Committee.

“I also welcome the decision to introduce concussion substitutes into cricket and this coupled with the introduction of Minimum Medical Standards will go a considerable way to protecting player welfare,” he added.