The game of cricket has been taking place since the late 1800s and the game has evolved in a big way over the time being. To start with, Test cricket came to the fore followed by the ODI format. Then in the 2000s, the boom of the T20 format has embraced the sport.
A number of occurring has led to the formulation of plenty of rules. The players also need to follow them to avoid punishment. Last year, the overthrow rule came under the scanner after England were awarded six runs after a deflection of Ben Stokes’ bat.
Simon Taufel, the legendary umpire, said that the Brits should have been given five runs and there was an error of judgement on part of the umpires. There are a number of laws, which are deemed to be a tad on the weird side, but are still being followed.
In the article, let’s take a look at five weird rules in cricket: –
1. Dead Ball on hitting the Spidercam
Spidercam is a common phenomenon in cricket in order to make broadcasting of the matches more interesting. But at times, it plays detriment to action on the field. In a generation of slam-bang cricket, the batsmen take the aerial route on a pretty regular basis.
At times when the leather is in the air, it comes in contact with the camera or its wire. In this scenario, the ball itself becomes dead. The umpire calls it a dead ball and it won’t be one of the six balls in the over. Moreover, any outcome from the delivery gets nullified.
If a fielder takes a catch or a batter takes runs, they won’t be counted. If the batsmen have crossed before the ball making contact with the camera, the crossing will remain. In case, the bowler has churned out a no-ball, the penalty run will remain.
2. Penalty on hitting helmet
Even as helmets are important for the batsmen and the close-in fielders, it’s also a essential gear for the wicketkeeper. At the time of keeping to the fast bowlers, the helmet becomes a valuable, especially on pitches, which generate significant amount of pace and bounce.
But then, the keepers take them down when the spinners are in operation, mostly placing them behind themselves. But at times, the ball trickles on to hit the helmets. Thereafter, the batting team gets five penalty runs for the act of fielding.
The batter gets any runs completed or in progress before the leather makes contact with the helmet. It also applies if the ball hits any clothing or gear wilfully discarded by a fielder. The same is detailed in the Law 28 of the Fielder Law of the MCC laws of Cricket.
3. Appealing mandatory for a fielding team
When a fielding team reckons that a batsman is out, it erupts in vociferous appeal, requesting the umpire to give the decision in their favour. If it’s legal, then the umpire raises the finger. However, in order to get a batter dismissed, one has to mandatorily appeal.
Without the appeal, the umpire shall not give the batsman out. The laws are defined under MCC’s Law 31 of the Appeals and Dismissals. However, it won’t be debarring a batsman, who is out, from walking off the field even without an appeal.
Quite a few times, the bowler and keeper refrains from appealing for a caught-behind. But then, the replays show that the leather had indeed taken the outside edge. Even as a number of batsmen have walked even after being given not out, a few of them have managed to hold ground.
4. Batsman can’t hit the ball twice
Remember ‘Guran’ from the popular Bollywood movie ‘Lagaan’? In the movie, it was shown that he popped the ball in the air, and then smash the ball out of the park. But then the on-field umpire asked him to hit the ball once after the opposition captain complained.
The same laws apply in today’s cricket as well. The same falls under the Law 34 of MCC’s Appeals and Dismissals. If the batter is found wilfully making contact with the ball twice before the leather comes in contact with the fielder, then the umpire can give him out.
The bowler does not get the credit for the wicket though. If the ball is lawfully struck, as permitted in Law 34.3, the umpire shall call a dead ball as soon as the batsman completes a run or after the leather has raced away to the boundary.
5. Playing without bails
There are times when the playing conditions are windy, disallowing the bails to stay in their groove. In such extreme situations, a match can continue without the bails in play. As per Law 8.5 of the MCC, the umpire may do without the bails if its necessary.
The use of bails shall be resumed as soon as conditions permit. The same laws have already been put forth in a couple of international games. In 2019, the Ashes Test between England and Australia was a witness to the law being implied.
In the 32nd over of the visitors’ first innings at the Old Trafford in Manchester, the winds made the bails go all over the place. Thereafter, Marais Erasmus and Kumar Dharmasena carried on play without the bails. The first such incident took place during a game between Afghanistan and West Indies in 2017.
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