Is there a max zone in cricket?

Late great Martin Crowe was a legendary New Zealander batter who was ranked within the Top 5 in both Test and ODI cricket. In 1996, he conceived a new brand of cricket called “Cricket Max.” Even though the format did not pick up over the years, fans of the sport still regard it as an innovative form of the game sadly diminishing due to many complexities.

Crowe’s idea was simple. He wanted to bring something new to cricket after the world had witnessed 15 years of ODI cricket. The format introduced by Crowe had the following format:

  • Similar to test cricket, one team batted twice.
  • There are a total of 10 overs and each over lasted 8 balls.
  • Instead of eleven, there are 13 players in the team. However, only 11 could field at a time. There must be at least one slow bowler in the side. 
  • There was no rule of leg before wicket rule. 
  • A wide would result in the batter on strike being awarded 2 runs. 
  • There would be 4 stumps and 3 bails.
  • Only five batters can bat in an innings: three batters and two all-rounders. 
  • A batter re-joins the batting order if he is out. A total of 10 wickets over the course of two innings will result in the side being all-out. Th batter who is batting last can bat with the previous batter acting as the runner. 
  • If a batter fails to score 20 runs in his first 25 balls, he will be “struck out.”
  • A pinch hitter can be designated at any stage in the last 10 overs. However, if that batter is out, then one of the ten wickets will be used up. 
  • If there are three boundaries in a row, the runs of the third boundary wall be doubles (8 or 12).
  • A no ball results in a free hit on the next ball.
  • 5 bowlers must be used. 5 overs per bowler are available. A maximum spell of 3 overs is allowed.

The prime highlight of this format is the modification in the field of play. Instead of the traditional 30-yard circle, there is an hour-glass shaped inner grid. Only two fielders are allowed in the first 10 overs outside the inner grid and there are four fielders allowed in the next 10 overs.

Between the long on and the long off fielders, there is a trapezoidal zone called the max zone. No fielder can stay in this zone at the time of delivery. If the ball goes across the fence from this zone, then the number of runs scored will be doubles (8 or 12). If a single is taken when the ball reaches that area, then two runs will be allowed.

Cricket max had a transient phase of fame but unfortunately never picked up. Max zone, four stumps, grids, were all fascinating, but needed a much better structure. 

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