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Make the laws explicitly clear or stop bleating

2014 June 4
by Legsidelizzy

The Buttler Mankading incident has caused something a furore.  An inexplicable furore in my view. He was out of his crease, he was run out fair and square.  He didn’t even need to be warned although out of politeness they did – twice.

The crux of the problem is that the laws say one thing, the ICC playing conditions 2014 say another and the unwritten code of etiquette (the dreaded spirit of cricket) say another.

Yes – an unwritten code of etiquette.  The set of rules that aren’t written down that are “just not the done thing”.

I’m not entirely sure how one is supposed to know about these unwritten rules but woebetide if you go against them. The cricketing fraternity will call you unsportsmanlike, ungentlemanly or worse – a cheat.

It’s precisely this sort of nonsense that make sports like cricket and golf seem elitist, snobby and inaccessible.

It’s exactly the same sort of furore we have when players nick off and don’t walk.

It is time to put an end to these grey areas and cut out the arguments about ungentlemanly behaviour

1) If we don’t want people to mankad, it needs to be explicit in the laws. Or make the laws explicit that the non-striker shouldn’t leave their crease until the bowler has released the ball (that would soon stop them going walkabouts and gaining an unfair advantage which is essentially what backing up is)

2) Make sure that the laws are the laws and the playing regulations are merely to set out differences in formats such as playing times, points, the colour of the ball and powerplays etc.

3) Either make the spirit of cricket clearer or get rid of it all together. The nonsensical “pre-amble” to the laws is neither one thing nor t’other.  We don’t need to write down that people shouldn’t abuse each other or the umpire. They don’t have a “spirit of darts” or a “spirit of table tennis”. Why? Because there’s no need. We all know that you need to not abuse officials, players or spectators and that dissent towards an umpire is not on (and indeed this last one should be put in the actual laws).

Make the laws explicit on mankading, walking or not-walking, claiming a catch and all the other things that cause furore’s and then let the umpires make their decisions based on these.

In the case of mankading – nowhere does it say you have to warn the batsmen; that is merely another of these “unwritten matters of etiquette” that do nothing but cause hassle.

If we continue with all these grey areas, differences in laws and playing regs and bizarre romantic notions of gentlemanly behaviour I really don’t know how those who are coming new to the game have any idea what’s going on? Even those of us entrenched in the game find it beyond ridiculous at times.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Micki permalink
    June 4, 2014

    I agree – it does need to be more black and white.

    That said, it reminds me of the incident a few years ago – possibly against India – where Ian Bell didn’t ground his bat when he thought the ball had gone for 4 but it hadn’t and he was run out on the stroke of tea.

    Assuming it was India, Dhoni had the tea interval to make a decision as to whether to allow Bell to carry on batting. Again, it was something he didn’t need to do but did it out of good sportsmanship.

    Another incident happened only this week where Alex Hales was given out caught but he felt that the catch wasn’t cleanly taken – I seem to recall Dinesh Ramdin being banned for a number of games in the recent World T20 competition for something very similar.

    Ultimately there are too many grey areas and these do need to be addressed – and soon!

  2. Tim permalink
    June 4, 2014

    Absolutely right and the argument advanced by Vaughan today that he would warn ad infinitum but never enforce is absurd. The spirit of cricket should not be about ambiguity about laws but about common decency and abiding by the rules where personal judgment is important ( and that’s where golf scores) – it is crickets equivalent of what marks good sportsmanship and honesty in all sports. I remember as a child reading about Simpson shouting to Wally Grout “leave them on Wally” when a batsman had collided inadvertently with a fielder and could have been run out. That is the spirit of cricket not ignoring blatant attempts to break the rules by gaining advantage

    I am all for retention of the law and it’s enforcement without warning as in baseball. That would keep the non striker in his/her crease unless they wanted to take the risk knowingly

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