A new law on run outs has divided opinion among the region’s village cricket teams.
The MCC are issuing a new a code for the grassroots game for the first time in 21 years. that will enable bowlers to run out batsmen before they release the ball, if the non-striker has walked out of his ground.
According to the MCC’s laws sub-committee, the new code is designed to make the game fairer for the fielding team. The alteration will come into place after a mass consultation took place between players, umpires and administrators up and down the country.
Simon Park, league adminstrator for the West Lancashire Saturday Cricket League, said: “We don’t really want people to get out this way, but we have to have a law in place otherwise batsmen can walk down as far as they like.”
Although there is much scepticism regarding the change in law, particularly among the players themselves, Mr Park seems to think most agree that the pre-existing law was too subjective and therefore needed amending.
Originally, batsmen were able to begin running down the wicket as soon as the bowler entered their delivery stride.
Mr Park said: “It did allow for the non-striker, particularly when there was a slow bowler bowling, to gain quite a reasonable advantage. They’re often two or three yards down the pitch when the ball gets released and when there’s a run out down the other end that comes down to a matter of centimetres, that difference is significant.”
The same law was introduced to the professional game by the ICC back in 2011. Since then, there have only been a handful of times where a batsmen has been dismissed before the ball was bowled, however, some village players still don’t like the idea of the new law.
Nathan Kelsow, who plays for Farnworth Cricket Club in the WLSCL, believes the change in law is unnecessary.
He said: “I think batsmen should be given at least a warning; running one out like that just isn’t really cricket to me. There is no skill in getting someone out like that, if the batsmen is backing up too much then they should just be given a warning like bowlers get when they follow through down the middle of the wicket.”
Teammate Josh Marriot agrees: “It barely ever happens, although it needed addressing because when bowlers try it on now, no-one knows what to do or whether it should be given out or not.
“The idea of getting a batsman out this way at this level just seems petty to me. A ‘mankad’ dismissal shouldn’t be in the spirt of the game.”
But William Saunderson, who plays for Ratcliffe Cricket Club, welcomes the change: “At the end of the day it’s cheating to back up before the bowlers bowl the ball. It’s not a difficult thing to do for the non-striker and there are certain situations like the last ball of an innings where it can make a big difference.”