The International Cricket Council (ICC) has introduced a new rule whereby a player must be at least 15 years old to eligible to play at the international level. The rule will be applicable for any for of men’s, women’s or Under-19 cricket.

Earlier, there was no restriction on age limit but it has now been placed to improve ‘safeguarding of players’.

“The Board confirmed the introduction of minimum age restrictions for international cricket to improve safeguarding of players which will apply across all cricket including ICC events, bilateral cricket and U19 cricket. To play in any form of men’s, women’s or U19 international cricket players must now be a minimum age of 15,” the ICC said in a statement.

However, ICC did say that under exceptional circumstances, it may allow a member board to field a player not meeting the age criteria.

“In case of exceptional circumstances, a Member Board could apply to the ICC to allow a player under the age of 15 to play for them. This could include where the player’s playing experience and mental development and wellbeing demonstrates that they would be capable of coping with the demands of international cricket,” it said.

Among Test playing nations, in men’s cricket, there’s been just one case of a player below 15 years playing international cricket.

Hasan Raza of Pakistan made his international debut at the age of 14.

However, Romania’s M Gherasim and Kuwait’s Bhavsar also made their international bow at the age of 14.

Meanwhile, the ICC has also announced a new points system for its inaugural World Test Championship which has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

As per the new system, the final World Test Championship league table will now be determined only on the basis of completed matches. The matches not completed will be treated as drawn with points split.

Teams will now be ranked on the order of percentage of points earned.