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The 'unwavering' love of zing bails for the stumps

England's Jonny Bairstow inspects the stumps after the ball hit them and the bails did not fall as Bangladesh's Mohammad Saifuddin looks on
England's Jonny Bairstow inspects the stumps after the ball hit them and the bails did not fall as Bangladesh's Mohammad Saifuddin looks on
©Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
©Cricket World & John Mallett

The bowler runs in with all his might. The batsman taps the ground in his stance and is ready to face the ball. The pacer puts in all he has into the ball as he sends it across the turf at million miles an hour. The batsman is a touch late in bringing his bat down and the ball whizzes past the willow to strike another piece of timber.

The fielding team almost instinctively starts to celebrate, but they stop in their stride when they see the three stumps with their bails as cleanly stacked as a painting.

The batsman has a look at the stumps, has a look at the bowler, has a look at the umpire, has a look at the non-striker and then gives out a sheepish smile and takes his guard again.

 The bowler raises his hands up in the air in anguish and looks at the wicket keeper. Both of whom then look towards the skipper. The skipper scratches his head and tries to talk to the umpire, who denies him of any assistance in this regard. Dejected, the fielders take their respective places and the match begins again.

Unfair on the bowlers 

It has now been five times from 13 matches across 10 days that the ball has hit the stumps and the bails have refused to come off. As it is, all the rules are heavily skewed against the bowler and when he finally manages to get the better of the batsman, he is not duly rewarded for it.

 This is almost robbing the bowler of a much deserved wicket. A one-off incident is understandable but it has now been happening on a very high frequency.


Why are zing bails not getting dislodged?

 The bails which are being currently used are known as zing bails, which started being used in the Big Bash League and were gradually adopted by most leagues across the world and international cricket as well. These bails are slightly heavier than the traditional bails, because of the light flickering technology in them. However, they are a bit lighter than the bails which were traditionally used in windy conditions.

The reason behind their usage is to provide more clarity in run-outs and stumpings so that you know the exact moment when the wicketkeeper or the fielder has broken the stumps. Hence, there can be more precision in such decisions.

 The flip side to this is that because of the heaviness of the bails and the hardness of stumps used along with them, they are not coming off often when the ball hits the stumps (sometimes flush).


Kohli and Finch have their say

The latest beneficiary of this grey area has been Australia's David Warner who played on a ball on to the stumps from Jasprit Bumrah at the speed of 137 kmph, but the bails did not come off. The captains of both the oppositions have had their say on the matter.

"I haven't seen that happen so many times in the past. I'm sure no team would like seeing stuff like that when you actually bowl a good ball and then you don't get the guy out, the ball hits the stump and the lights don't come on, or the lights come on and the bail comes back on to the stump," Kohli told reporters at the post-match press briefing.

Aaron Finch also conceded that it was not the first time that this had happened. "The bails seem to be a lot heavier, so it does take a bit of force. I've seen it a handful of times now in IPL and Big Bash where the ball rolls back on to the stumps, where the bails traditionally one of them will pop off. I think it's just one of those things that you are aware of that when you're on the right side of it, you are aware of it a bit easier than when you're not," the Australian captain noted.

Here's listing these five instances

The first example of this was seen in the tournament opener between England and South Africa when a ball from England's Adil Rashid flicked Quinton de Kock's off stump and the ball then went on to cross the boundary. It was repeated in the game between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Cardiff when Dimuth Karunaratne played the ball on to his stumps but the bails did not come off.

The incident occurred again in the match between Australia and West Indies when a seriously quick delivery from Mitchell Starc took the edge of Chris Gayle's off stump on its way to Alex Carey. The sorry umpire gave him caught behind, only to realise after the review that the ball had actually clipped the stumps.

Bangladesh's Mohammad Saifuddin was the next beneficiary of this when the bail lifted out from the groove off Ben Stokes' bowling but then went back in. The recent incident, of course, was in the match between India and Australia where David Warner got a second life after the bails refused to come off despite Bumrah's ball hitting the stumps at substantial velocity.

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