It’s so unusual to hear an umpire at square leg call No ball that we spectators sat up with a start when it happened in a match recently. Yet there weren’t more than two fielders behind the popping crease on the leg side, and it certainly didn’t seem as if the bowler had thrown the ball. When they came off for tea I heard fielders talking about the wicket-keeper ‘encroaching’. What did they mean by this?
The umpire at striker’s end called and signalled No ball because some part of the wicket-keeper’s person or equipment was not completely behind the wicket when the ball came into play. The wicket-keeper must remain wholly behind ‘his’ wicket until either the striker touches the ball with his bat or person, or it passes the wicket, or the striker attempts a run.
The wicket-keeper was not best pleased as a result of the following incident. The batsman hit the ball and set off on what looked like a suicidal single. The non-striker practically flew down the pitch, just made his ground, and then fell backwards onto the pitch to avoid being hit by the ball, which was being thrown in. The ’keeper took the ball, whipped off the bails and appealed for a Run out. The non-striker was well out of his ground at that moment. Why was the appeal turned down?
The appeal failed because, according to your description of events, the non-striker had already made his ground. The only reason he had left his ground after that was to take evasive action to avoid being struck by the ball. This is permitted under Law 38.2 (a).
We were playing a friendly match, with the players taking turns to umpire for a while. The batsman hit a powerful shot and, while chasing it to the boundary, the fielder’s hat fell off. He gathered the ball before it hit the boundary rope, and threw it back to the wicket-keeper. On the way the ball bounced on his hat, which was lying on the ground. Should we have awarded five Penalty runs in addition to the three runs the batsman made?
No, because the discarding of his cap was not a wilful action by the fielder. But if, for instance, he had deliberately caught the ball in his cap, or it hit a helmet on the ground behind the wicket-keeper, then the ball is instantly dead and five Penalty runs are awarded to the batting side but, note, not to the batsman himself.
Our opening bowler bowls very close to the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Quite often he knocks off one of the bails as he bowls. Recently he did just that and the batsman played the ball straight back at him, hard along the ground. Bending down to field it, the bowler deflected the ball on to the non-striker’s stumps. It removed the other bail, with the non-striker out of his ground, backing up. Was the non-striker Run out, or was the wicket already ‘down’?
If out of his ground, then the non-striker was indeed Run out. If one bail is already off, it’s sufficient to remove the remaining one. If both bails are off, a fielder may replace one and then remove it, or remove a stump from the ground – using the ball, or the hand or arm of the hand holding the ball.
The game was a limited overs match with a maximum five overs allowance for each bowler. The opening bowler bowled the first ball, and then promptly had an asthma attack. Another bowler had to finish the over. This is when the fun started. According to the umpire, each bowler had now ‘bowled’ one over of his five-over allowance. So, two overs had apparently been ‘bowled’, yet only six balls had actually been delivered. Confused? You bet we were!
But the umpire was right. Had the man who finished off the incomplete first over been permitted to go on to bowl a full five over spell he would then, obviously, have bowled a total of five overs and five balls, which would have exceeded his legal allowance under the playing conditions for this match.
Here’s another example of confusion as to what was actually scored. The bowler bowled a ball that the umpire called and signalled as a Wide. The wicket-keeper missed it, so the batsmen started to run. The ball hit short third man on his boot and ricocheted off. The batsmen had just crossed on their first run when the ball then hit a helmet on the ground behind the ‘keeper and shot over the boundary. How many runs were scored – 4,5,7,10, or 11?
Seven runs - none of them credited to a batsman, but all credited to the batting side! Firstly, the one run penalty for the Wide ball. Then one more Wide, because the batsmen had crossed before the ball hit the helmet, followed by 5 Penalty runs because it did so – at which instant it became a Dead ball.
The bowler charged in and bowled a quick bouncer, to the opening bat. This batsman took one hand off his bat to protect his face. It was just as well he did, since the ball struck him a nasty blow on the glove, right in front of his nose. Two questions – if someone had appealed, could he have been given out for Handled the ball, and if a fielder had caught it off his glove would he have been given out Caught?
No, to both. According to your description, this was not a ‘wilful’ act of handling the ball. The batsman was trying to protect himself from injury, which is allowed. He can never be given out Caught if the ball bounces off a glove that is not holding the bat at the time. Hands and gloves are only a ‘part of the bat’ for as long as they are in contact with it.
You might remember one quick-fire innings from Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff against South Africa, at Lord’s I think it was. He was smashing the ball to all parts of the ground and thrilling the crowd. At one point he hit the ball so hard that his bat split lengthways, from toe to handle, leaving one large piece hanging on by a thread of wood. If that piece of bat had flown off and hit the stumps, would Flintoff have been out?
Yes, and I expect he would have gone back to the pavilion cursing his rotten luck! Assuming the ball was not a No ball, Flintoff would have been given out Hit wicket, since part of his equipment had done so. There are many entries in very early scorebooks of top-hatted batsmen recorded as ‘out – hat fell on the stumps’!
Commentators become excited when the team batting second might have to follow-on. If it doesn’t meet the target, must that side follow on, and does the number of runs required to save the follow-on change depending on the length of the game?
The captain of the side that batted first can choose whether to enforce a follow-on or not, and the target depends on the match length. To enforce the follow-on in a 1-day game, the side that batted first must lead by at least 75 runs, in a 2 day one by 100, in a 3 or 4 day game by 150, and in a 5-day Test, by 200. The target relates to the actual day on which play starts. So, if play doesn’t start until day 3 of a 5- day match, it’s regarded as a 3 day game. But, once started, any subsequent loss of a full day’s play is ignored.