A forecast crackdown on bat sizes by the International Cricket Council on the eve of the World Cup has been met with raised eyebrows by players and manufacturers, who believe there are other reasons to blame for the “unfair” balance between bat and ball.

The bulging of bats will be no more evident than with the one to be used at this month’s 50-over tournament by West Indian Chris Gayle, whose bat has 45 millimetre edges, and the imposing willow wielded by Australia’s David Warner.

And less than three weeks after South Africa’s AB de Villiers smashed the fastest one-day international hundred in history, taking only 31 balls to reach the milestone, the sport’s governing body has indicated a move towards reining in the size of bats.