No bowler can be dubbed a villain for running out a batter, who is attempting to steal ground at the non-striker’s end, the World Cricket Committee of the MCC asserted as it sought normalisation of the dismissal at all age-group levels. The MCC also called for “calm” on the contentious issue as a few former cricketers still believe that the mode of dismissal is against the spirit of the game despite the ICC ruling that it will be counted as ‘run out’ rather than ‘unfair play’.
Last month, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) the custodians of the laws of the game, issued a clarification to the wording of the law following an incident in which Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa attempted to run-out non-striker Tom Rogers in a Big Bash game in January.
The clarification involved changing the wording of Law 38.3 to deliver better clarity and dispel “misconceptions” on it.
The WCC, which met at the ICC headquarters in Dubai last week, is now calling for calm across all levels of the game — from the recreational cricket to the elite level– given that the act of running out a non-striker who opts to steal ground is within the laws of the game.
“The overriding factor is that there is a simple way that all confusion and controversy around this form of dismissal can be eradicated – by non-strikers complying with the Law and remaining within their ground until they have seen the ball being released from the bowler’s hand,” the MCC said in a statement on Thursday.
“Part of the discussion in Dubai touched on the growing narrative for the bowler to be vilified for this type of dismissal. The committee members were unanimous in their view that the batter stealing ground is the one breaking the Laws of the game and therefore deserving of recrimination.
“They were also in agreement that there is no precedent to require a bowler to give a warning to a batter, confirming they are completely within their right to dismiss the batter on the first occasion they break the Law,” it added.
The WCC comprises greats of the game including Kumar Sanakkara, Sourav Ganguly, Justin Langer, Alastair Cook, with Mike Gatting being the chairman.
“The bowler is not the villain here. Every batter has a choice; to stay in their ground, or risk being given out if they try to steal ground. If they choose the latter, they are the ones who are breaking the Law,” said Sri Lankan great Sangakkara.
Gatting added: “We have seen suggestions that this method of dismissal will be attempted more and more at recreational level and there is the possibility of matches descending into chaos.
“Whilst attempts may increase in the short term, we would expect batters to learn their responsibilities under the Laws very quickly and drive it out of prominence.
“Although the wording of the Law has recently been clarified, the timing of when the run out can be attempted is unchanged since 2017, so very little has actually changed.
“Our stance on this is simple – batters must not steal ground if they do not wish to be given out in this manner. Nor should they be expecting to be given a warning if they do.
“If all non-strikers only left the popping crease once the ball had been released, there would never be the need for such a dismissal again,” said the former England batter.
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