Cricket umpires can now send players off starting from October Getty

A new Code of Laws issued by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) will limit the thickness of bats and introduce player send-offs.

The MCC confirmed that the new regulations – the first to be issued since 2000 – will come into effect 1 October 2017, starting with professional cricket before being eased into amateur cricket.

In a bid to "redress the balance between bat and ball" in the sport, the maximum dimensions of a cricket bat will now be 108 mm in width, 67 mm in depth with 40 mm edges.

"The bat size issue has been heavily scrutinised and discussed in recent years," John Stephenson, MCC Head of Cricket said in a statement. "We believe the maximum dimensions we have set will help redress the balance between bat and ball, while still allowing the explosive, big hitting we all enjoy."

Among the other new rules, batsmen will be protected from 'bouncing bat' run outs while cricket umpires will now have the authority to send players off if they commit serious breaches of behaviour under the new rules.

In an effort to stamp out poor discipline within the game, umpires will be able to sanction players under four levels, with the third and fourth levels gifting the opposing team five runs as well as resulting in the sanctioned player being sent off for a set amount of overs or possibly the whole match.

"We felt the time had come to introduce sanctions for poor player behaviour and research told us that a growing number of umpires at grass roots level were leaving the game because of it," Stephenson said. "Hopefully these sanctions will give them more confidence to handle disciplinary issues efficiently, whilst providing a deterrent to the players."

Umpire Sanctions under the new Code:

Level 1

Offences include excessive appealing and showing dissent at an umpire's decision. Following an official warning, a second Level 1 offence will result in five penalty runs being awarded to the opposing team.

Level 2

Offences (including throwing the ball at a player or making deliberate physical contact with an opponent during play), will result in the immediate awarding of five penalty runs to the opposing team.

Level 3

Offences (including intimidating an umpire or threatening to assault another player, team official or spectator) will result in five penalty runs and a removal of the offending player from the field for a set number of overs, depending on the format of the match.

Level 4

Offences (threatening an umpire or committing any act of violence on the field of play), will result in five penalty runs and the removal of the offending player for the remainder of the match. If the player is batting at the time of the offence, he/she will be recorded as 'retired out'.

The new Code of Laws will be formally released on 20 March.