Running out the non-striker — how was it that the only people in the ground who noticed were the fielding team?

Peter Della Penna’s forensic analysis of the now infamous run out † of Charlie Dean at Lord’s was pretty conclusive. Dean had left her crease early on more than 70 occasions prior to being dismissed, several times being 2’ out of her ground before the ball was released by the bowler.

But were any of the England coaches and analysts and support staff actually watching the game?

Seemingly, no-one in the England camp noticed Dean’s repeated wandering. Or if they did, they thought nothing of it.

What were they watching, then? Clearly not the game, as it was being played in front of their eyes. Perhaps they were focussing on outcomes, preparing analyses, working out What It Takes to Win next time, and not on What’s Important Now

FWIW — I see nothing wrong with running out a non-striker who leaves his (or her) ground early, nor even against a premeditated run out.

“Fake bowling” (completing the bowling action but not releasing the ball), on the other hand, should probably incur a 5 run penalty and warning against the bowler, just like fake fielding.

The current wording of the Law states “If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be Run out.”

This is, surely, too vague. When can you “normally expect” a bowler to release they ball, when they can sometimes pull out of their bowling action in mid-delivery stride, or later?

I’m not sure how best to re-word this.

There is, apparently, an objection to reverting to an earlier definition that required the non-striker to stay within his/her ground until the bowler entered the delivery stride i.e. back-foot contact, as this “gives the runner too much of a head start”.

I don’t see the problem, personally — write this into Law, and then play to the Law as written. It would have the very great advantage of removing “normal expectation” from the umpire’s consideration.

† I have previously followed convention by referring to the act of running out the non-striker who has set off for a run before the ball has been delivered as a “Mankad”. At the weekend, I happened to be coaching with someone who has actually played cricket with one of Vinoo Mankad’s sons, and he (my coaching colleague) explained how the family disliked the association of Vinoo’s name with what has become a seriously contentious mode of dismissal.

So I shall henceforth refer to running out the non-striker, or, more accurately, to The Laws of Cricket 2017 code (3rd edition — 2022), Law 38.3 Non-striker leaving his/her ground early.

It’s still Out!

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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