Officially announced by the Australian Cricket Board.
Following the recent crushing defeat of England, the International Cricket Council has imposed a new set of rules for the up coming Ashes series to make the contest more even.
As a result, England has been granted an automatic wicket keeper, freeing up whichever poor sod, (it could be me my geography professor for all I ****ing care) to defend the boundary. Under the rule, Australian batsmen will be deemed out "caught behind" if the ball nicks their bat and lands in the immediate area behind the wicket. The rule is a compromise from the original English proposal which had pushed for automatic slips as well. The ICC refused that request on the rounds that "someone has to go and get the ball when an Australian misses it."
In addition, Australia is under strict "tip-and-run" restrictions which require they take a run off every ball they hit. Ricky Ponting was happy to accept this, as it meant no change to his current game plan. As a compromise, it was agreed that the Australians will also have to shout out the word "wickets" when completing a run to make run out decisions by umpires easier.
Following his outstanding performances, Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has "six and out" restrictions imposed on him. As well, following complaints from English fielders, Gilchrist will have to get the ball if it goes across the road.
Instead of using a bat, Matt Hayden will now be obliged to use his arm with his jumper wrapped around it.
New rules for England include "one hand, one bounce" while they are fielding, and the provision of "last man's tucker" when they are batting.
The English tried to extend the "can't get out first ball" provision to "can't get out first ten overs", but the ICC proclaimed that the extra runs gained would hardly be worth the effort. Australian captain Ricky Ponting has vigorously opposed the "last man's tucker" rule and has launched an appeal. Ponting says Australia will only agree to the rule if there are electric wickets at the end, allowing Aussie fielders to throw to the stumps at either end.
A spokesperson for the ICC also announced that "from now on Ian Bell can't get out for a duck".
Liam Plunkett will also be allowed to wrap the ball's seam with electrical tape when he's bowling in the second innings.
The spokesperson added there will be "no LBW" for English batsmen unless "it is really, really obvious."
Shane Warne has conceded that it's "fair enough" that he has to bowl underarm (but not molly grubbers) to the English tail end, and must inform the batsman what each delivery will do.
If England decides that Steve Harmison is to be given an over, the umpire will deem the Australian batsmen as dismissed if Harmison lands the ball anywhere on the pitch. Captain Ricky Ponting has no problems with this change, as the probability of such a dismissal occurring is infinitesimally small.
England will be given a bonus run every time a member of the crowd (or Australian team) tells Ashley Giles that he is crapper than Monty Panesar.
Brett Lee is not permitted a run up. He may however waddle up the crease in a Warnie-like fashion.
Despite the changes, Australia remains firm favourites going into the Ashes Series, paying $0.22, while an English win is currently paying $1.3 trillion.