I Fought the Law – the Law Definitely Won

Regular contributor Andy Oliver with his take on the recent law changes:

Why are we here?

For some reason, known only to the cricket gods, I decided to have a look at the just happened changes to the good old Laws (never rules – unless you want to wind up an umpire / stickler) of cricket.

The changes came into force internationally on the 1st October 2017, and seem to bring the worldwide game more into line with the playing conditions associated with International cricket (within reason obviously).

This has been a three year process by the MCC involving no one that I had ever heard of, except for Simon Taufel (ex-Aus umpire) so hopefully there has been an element of sense and improvement in the changes.

Some of the changes have the potential to create a greater impact on the overall game, and some are tweaks to existing laws.  I think there are some that will cause a good few arguments on the village green – so advise any umpires / clubs to have a copy of the updated laws with them on the field, or at the least, at the ground!  But that assumes the batsmen/bowlers actually know the Laws in the first place…


You will no longer be able to collect your honorary Graham Gooch award and be given out for handling the ball.  This mode of dismissal has been removed; however if a batsman were to handle the ball, they can instead be given out for obstructing the field – so don’t go willy-nilly handling your balls without invitation…

So there are now nine modes of dismissal, can you name them (no Googling at the back)?  I’ve been out to five of them I think.

Law 5

Everyone who has played club cricket will know that one batsman who has a ridiculous, massive, too heavy bat which they can only just lift, but when they do make contact the ball disappears (it’s just all too infrequent).  Well now the MCC have decided that batsmen have been riding their luck with too many top edges for six.

Now the batsmen must have a bat that fits within a certain size range – however it can still be as heavy as they want, so I don’t know what impact that might have as there will still be heavy bats that impart significant energy onto the ball (equal and opposite reaction and all that).  They will just be made with denser willow.

I believe they had a panel that reviewed the impact bat size made on scores etc.  How they did this I don’t know given there are many other variables in play at the same time.

I personally think too many dead wickets are to blame, as well as too many fielding restrictions and the whole two balls in play at once (for ODIs).  You could also make an argument for the increased protection of batsmen (better pads/helmets etc) as well as fitter batsmen also impacting on higher scores.

Batsmen are still going to hit big sixes, and they are still going to get lucky edges that fly away to the boundary.

Law 8.3.4

This is an interesting one.

This law allows for the placement of a tether between the bails and stumps.  I guess this is to try and prevent eye injuries to wicketkeepers (or slip fielders?).

It does not appear to be a mandatory law, just allowing for the provision subject to the relevant Governing Body.  I doubt we will see this filtering into general play, but I could foresee it in the professional game county game, but perhaps not in international cricket.  Although would it reduce the spectacle of ‘bails flying’?

My guess is that a lawyer somewhere said that the MCC have a liability because the previous law prohibited any tether/3rd component and without this law they would actually be restricting a potentially injury preventing system.

Law 21

This one has been amended to state that the ball may only bounce once (before it reaches the opposite popping crease) after being bowled.

It’s a simple change that is standard in professional cricket.  The update makes a comment about ‘competent recreational cricket’, they have obviously not seen me playing in the seconds –  I might need to practice my bowling a bit more if I want to avoid racking up those no balls!

It could cause a few arguments for those who don’t know about the change and have always ‘got away with it’, or it may just bring a couple of umpires I know of into line with the Laws rather than their interpretation of them…

Law 24

A substitute fielder can now keep wicket if needed.  I guess this is a result of the role being seen as a specialist position that could lead to injury if a non-keeper took up the gloves.

While not relevant to village cricket (we struggle to get ten, let alone having a twelfth man who is an expert wicket keeper), I can see this on the international stage for sure (if the ICC playing regulations bring it in).

I don’t know how this affects the batting order, but I assume that whomever was named in the original starting 11 would be expected to bat and if incapable, you only have nine wickets.

Again, it may be a liability thing, (someone who is not a keeper getting injured because the MCC not allowing a specialist substitute) but it would keep the big game spectacle because you are not having to ‘make do’ with a part timer.

Law 30

One for the TV more than the village green I think.

A running or diving batsman who grounds his bat, but it then bounces up will not be given out.  The key is it has to be a diving/forward momentum (i.e. you could still be stumped if you ‘wobble’ forward, but if running in you are fine).

On the flip side, if a batsman has grounded his bat but lifts (and comes out of his crease) it to take ‘evasive action’ he is not out.

This brings to mind Cooks only Test run out.  India, 3rd day at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2012.

Cook, only just out of his ground, took evasive action to avoid a throw at the stumps by Kohli.  The problem was that he had not grounded his bat in the first place before moving.  If he had just allowed himself to be hit, he would be fine (as he did not make a deliberate attempt to block the ball), If he had grounded his bat, and then moved – he would have been fine as well.

As it was, it was his only run out dismissal apparently.

Law 41

There have been a number of changes to Law 41, mostly tweaks but some good/bigger ones.  This law deals with fair and unfair play. 

Law 41.8

Check your betting slips…

This law make it an offense to bowl deliberate front foot no balls (good job Kieron Pollard did it already….).  If caught, then you will be suspended from bowling.

I doubt we will ever see this in a live game.  What umpire is going to know if a no ball is deliberate or not?

I’ve seen some doosies just from regular village play!!

Law 41.15

Batsmen cannot “take a stance where they will inevitably encroach on the protected area.”

I assume this means they cannot bat 4ft out of their crease (the protected area starting 5ft in front of the popping crease).  I guess that when a batsman runs down the wicket to a spinner, it’s still ok though as they are going through the motion of taking a shot.

I know what some of our (my village that is) bowlers would do if they saw someone batting that far out!

Law 41.16

This is a good one and bound to cause a few arguments.

Ever heard of “Mankading”?  Yup, the one that causes all the arguments.  The one where Butler was run out for leaving his crease early (correctly, under the previous law 41.15).

There, my cards are on the table.

Well, Law 41.16 explicitly deals with this and I present the full law below;

If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one in the over.

 If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.

The ball ‘comes into play’ as the bowler begins his run up, so the bowler can remove the bails at any point up to delivering the ball and if the non-striker is out his ground, then he is gone.

Previously the ‘run out’ had to be performed prior to the bowler entering his delivery stride, but it was basically the same, they can just pull out before delivering

In other words, get back into the crease you cheating batsman, or I’ll have ya!

I expect many arguments to ensue over how this is against the spirit of the game, while ignoring the batsman stealing yards being against the ‘spirit’ instead.

Law 42

This law is the meaty new one (and thus is also the largest explanation).  While there were 42 Laws previously, the juggling has made room for a new law to be made, while keeping it at 42.

This Law is a conduct Law, and allows for in-match consequences for poor behaviour.  It’s probably also the one that will cause most arguments if attempted on the village green – so I don’t expect to see much of it happening.

There are 4 ‘levels’ of offence and it is the umpires’ discretion as to which level the offence falls into.  First the penalties:

Level 1: Warning (first offence) then 5 penalty runs to the opposition for a repeat offence.

Level 2: 5 Penalty runs to the opposition.

Level 3: Offending player is suspended for a number of overs (10 overs in normal cricket, 1/5th of the innings overs in limited overs cricket), depending on the length of the match, plus 5 Penalty runs to the opposition.

Level 4: Offending player is removed from the field for the rest of the match, plus 5 Penalty runs to the opposition.

Level 1 offences:

– Wilfully mistreating any part of the cricket ground, equipment or implements used in the match (Broad kicking a lump out of the Headingley wicket anyone?)

– showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action (most of my team when I’m umpiring)

– using language that, in the circumstances, is obscene, offensive or insulting (me when I’m umpiring)

– making an obscene gesture

– appealing excessively (Shamsi in the CPL final anyone – if you have not seen it look it up)

– advancing towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing any other misconduct, the nature of which is, in the opinion of the umpires, equivalent to a Level 1 offence.

Level 2 offences

Showing serious dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action

– making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with another player

– throwing the ball at a player, umpire or another person in an inappropriate and dangerous manner

– using language or gesture to another player, umpire, team official or spectator that, in the circumstances, is obscene or of a serious insulting nature

– or any other misconduct, the nature of which is, in the opinion of the umpires, equivalent to a Level 2 offence.

Level 3 offences

– intimidating an umpire by language or gesture

– threatening to assault a player or any other person except an umpire. See Law 42.5.1.

Level 4 offences

– threatening to assault an umpire

– making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with an umpire

– physically assaulting a player or any other person

– committing any other act of violence.

No substitutes are allowed, and if the fielder is removed before batting (or a batsman removed) under a level 4 offence, then they are deemed ‘retired – out’.  So a double punishment if you are that naughty while fielding in the first innings.

I do look forward to amateur umpires kicking people out of games.  I can see that going really well.


So broadly speaking I think the changes to the laws make things more comparable to the professional/international game.

Some changes are logical and won’t cause any arguments, however other ones have the potential to wind up some batsmen/fielders who aren’t up to speed with the changes.

There are plenty of other smaller tweaks and amendments that I’ve not got to so I heartily recommend having a read of the Laws and the accompanying ‘explanation’ booklet – if you want something that is just a confusing self-referential nightmare to read that is.  I mean seriously, who needs to offer a second document to actually explain the first one.  Just make the first one easier to read.

Follow Andy on Twitter:  @oshodisa or add your comments below as he’ll be around from time to time to answer any queries!






29 thoughts on “I Fought the Law – the Law Definitely Won

  1. AB Oct 9, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    The two bounce law is ridiculous and will cause no end of problems in junior cricket. Junior leagues around the world will have to rush through emergency clauses to over-rule it.

    The other law that is utterly preposterous is this law against the fielder attempting to deceive the batsman, for example by diving for a ball he isn’t actually going to stop, or for pretending to throw the ball at the stumps. That’s going to cause so many fights it will have to be reversed.


  2. Mark Oct 9, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    The game is being dumbed down and sanitised for the corporate backers. I predict controversy in the 4 levels of disciplinary offences with run penalties. We don’t get consistency now in umpire LBW laws. Wait until umpires are handing out run penalties. Watch out for special favours to the big 3.

    Bat size makes me laugh because the authorities have no problem making the boundries shorter which results in many more miss hit sixes than anything to do with bats.

    I’m glad they have reaffirmed Mankading. Can we please now have no more whinging from the likes of Newman about the spirit of the game. It’s in the laws for all to see. (As it always was)

    I don’t see why they have to make a ruling on how many times the ball has to bounce. How many wickets fall in test matches with the ball bouncing twice? And at village level it’s just a bit of fun Whe a bowler messes up. But now we have to Elf & safety it.


    • Andy Oct 9, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      Thing is test (and presumably first class) over ride the laws through their playing conditions. They have been one bounce for (ever?) a long time at least.

      It makes the amateur game more in line with that, but does remove a ‘safety feature’ for the part time bowlers like me!


  3. quebecer Oct 9, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    Doesn’t the ‘retired – out’ punishment for a level 4 offence put us back to ten modes of dismissal?

    I was out handled ball once.

    I was also out caught by my Mum who was the square leg umpire when I was 11 making up the numbers in some cricket week intra club game. Good catch, too. One handed, down low. She caught me with one hand and gave me out with the other, if I remember.


    • Deep Purple Fred Oct 12, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Ah, I see. Having experienced such an event in your formative years explains alot…


  4. Rooto Oct 10, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    “If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out. ”
    Does this mean “at any moment”, or “continuously”? In other words, if the batsman moves out of his/her crease only after the ball enters play, can you still mankad him/her?


    • Andy Oct 11, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      I read it as if the non striker is out of his crease ‘at any point while the ball is in play – but before it is released’ then he can be mankaded.

      It does not matter if he is out of his crease before the bowler starts his run in, or he just ‘backs up’ a split second too soon.

      The bowler can take the bails at any point so long as he has not released the ball.

      I think…


      • Rooto Oct 11, 2017 / 7:38 pm

        Cheers, Andy. Got it now. Not sure if the law is unclearly worded, or if my brain is just unclear…


  5. SimonH Oct 10, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    First sighting (for me, at least) of something like this:


    It would be good if it was the last – but I doubt it.

    The answer to his question, by the way, is because human beings are not dogs, you fucking Orwellian monster.

    The fact that the Guardian reportst this with a straight face and the strongest criticism it can muster is to call responses “mixed” tells ypu everything about what’s going on at that apology for a newspaper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Oct 10, 2017 / 10:27 pm

      The Guardian has become a shabby propaganda outlet for the global elite. Censoring of the Internet, and now pushing the micro chipping of the human race. Both elite positions.

      What better than to encourage both under the laughable guise of fighting crime. The Guardian hates freedom, and hates free speech. They and their owners are a menace to freedom.

      We will see a lot more of these stories by our cowardly and very much non freedom loving media about the wonders of micro chipping in the months and years to come.


    • quebecer Oct 10, 2017 / 11:26 pm


      • SimonH Oct 11, 2017 / 8:08 am

        BTW, just in case anyone thinks this belongs to the distant future or a Scarlet Johansson film:


        • Mark Oct 11, 2017 / 12:26 pm

          Yup. Microchipping of the human race is on the agenda. And the media is pushing it as fast as they can.

          Of course they will have you belive it is all for your good. Wait until they add all your bank details and everything else about you to said chip, and can then turn off your chip and your access to services when you step out of line or say something they don’t like.

          For example….. I would like to keep 5 days tests. In a few years they will turn off my chip for saying that.


          • Andy Oct 11, 2017 / 3:11 pm

            well the next step is to just assign everyone a unique ID number, then keep it somewhere safe, like a tattoo on the arm.

            THis can then be linked to a database of people where you can keep a log of their personal preferences (in the name of good future service), such as religious, sexual, political preferences.

            Wonder where that could lead to.

            Rhetorical / sarcastic comment ended…


  6. AB Oct 12, 2017 / 9:47 am

    I’ve been talking to a cricketer who lives in Belgium. Apparently cricket used to be huge over here and in the neighbouring Netherlands in the late 90s and early 2000s because all the TV’s come with bbc and C4 as standard, and kids would grow up watching test match cricket. Now they don’t, and cricket has totally disappeared altogether. It turns out the move to sky sports didn’t just kill cricket in the UK, but across the entire continent too.


    • Mark Oct 12, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      There used to be some quite good Dutch players playing county cricket a decade or so ago. Not many, but one or two.


      • Andy Oct 12, 2017 / 1:26 pm

        This is a really good point. I think that the boat may have sailed in terms of getting the best out of a more prominant Netherlands international team.

        Much like Kenya and Ireland had a surge in the early – mid 00’s. The skills and desire on show were not capitalised by the ICC who kept the ‘2nd tier’ below the radar.

        England lost to both the Netherlands and Ireland and major comps – sucks for England, but that should have been a catalyst to pusk cricket in those (and more) places.

        This feels like a familiar conversation though. The ICC missed teh boat and while Ireland may keep pushing on, you feel some of the other nations may never get over the ‘test’ hurdle.


    • Mark Oct 12, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      This matter should have been dealt with on the day of the match in question or a couple of days afterwards. But there are too may administrators wallowing in their expense accounts to sort this stuff out.

      To appeal after the season ends is pathetic. The County championship has become a joke. It should be renamed the Committee room Championship.


      • Andy Oct 12, 2017 / 1:29 pm

        I would imagine teh ECB hoped that Middlesex would have done enough to secure their own safety. Then they could have just let the incident fade from memory.

        I can understand why play was stopped and teh game called off. How could they guarentee the safety of teh players and fans etc at that time. I’ve a vague memory that the game was only a couple of hours from finishing anyway – but what I don’t know is how likely a change in the result would have been. Was it meandering to a draw, or were Mddx pushing for victory?


        • KidVicious Oct 12, 2017 / 1:44 pm

          Just read the link, it appears as though the result would not have mattered, but Middlesex ‘missed the chance to improve their over rate’

          If this is overturned then there really will be no consequences for bad over rates, despite the protestations by many inside cricket


          • Grenville Oct 12, 2017 / 2:56 pm

            It’s ridiculous. You know what, sometimes it rains and you miss the chance to improve your over rate.


    • nonoxcol Oct 13, 2017 / 10:16 am

      One of his weirder obsessions, this. I just can’t get my head round why he thinks it’s such a big deal*

      *I can, obviously. I’m eagerly awaiting all of the bloodthirsty revenge pieces for his Sky blog this winter. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing all the other old classics as well: Johnson was overrated, Haddin was amazing, Michael Clarke was just a c*nt, Cook has a great record in Australia and it wasn’t seven years ago against pie-chuckers, blah blah blah.


  7. SimonH Oct 13, 2017 / 8:53 am

    The ICC decides!


    Hopefully, someone else will do a write-up as I’ve had my say on this. IMO the Test Championship has been introduced as cover for four-day Tests and I know which one I’d bet on to still be with us in ten years (unless Tests have become three days by then!). The things is, I’d not be against four-day Tests in some circumstances (SA vs. Zim for example) but we all know it’s the thin end of a very long wedge.

    Two other details tucked away:
    1) The new 13-team ODI league is going to be “the qualifying pathway” for future WCs. This presumably means every future WC is going to have less than 13 teams. Thank you ICC and fuck off. I’ve watched every WC since the first (even 2007, heaven help me) but no more, I’m done with it.
    2) The qualifying period to switch countries is going to be three years. I hope I’ve misunderstood this but that’s what it means to be saying. IMO this is ridiculously low and set up to enable rich countries to poach the young (ore ven not so young) talent of the rest. It absolutely stinks. Kyle Abbott to open the bowling for England in 2020?

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Oct 13, 2017 / 11:39 am

      Oh, listen who’s totally on board with the agenda:

      It’s Claude Rains’ time again….

      I love the way he tries to enlist Pietersen to support his case – but then can’t resist a gratuitous sideswipe at Pietersen. If he’s such a tosser, why is his agreement a good thing? This is the interview he must be referring to:


      Boycott’s support is expressed here:


      Hughes claims the top and bottom levels of the game are in good health – it’s the middle layers that have problems. A wealthy elite at the top and cheerful, compliant plebs at the bottom with very little inbetween – that’s their vision of the future. The ACB pay dispute was all about attacking the middle ranks of Australian cricket. It’s a business model of “de-layering”. I haven’t much affection for the CC anymore – but anyone who has ought to be very worried. BTW, his claim that things are healthy at the bottom is based on figures “he understands” that All-Stars Cricket attracted 40,000 this year. Leaving aside that we’ll never see how that figure was calculated, nor find out how many of that 40k go on to play or follow the game, the fact is that the original target was at least 50,000 (mentioned in a March Cricinfo story by David Hopps) so that’s 10,000 or 20% below their own target.


      • SimonH Oct 13, 2017 / 11:51 am

        Wigmore’s take is always worth reading:


        I fear his enthusiasm has blinded him – he may be right that an imperfect system can be a stepping-stone to a better one but there’s also the serious danger that a half-arsed system is set up to fail and that it’ll be used as the justification to kill it off entirely.


      • dannycricket Oct 15, 2017 / 12:17 pm

        According to this email the ECB sent, it appears that Simon Hughes was rounding up the actual figures for All Stars Cricket by a few thousand. That 70% of the kids were “new to cricket” (by which I assume it was their first time receiving coaching at their local club) is promising, but also unsurprising when you consider that 5-8 is pretty much the earliest point kids could start attending cricket coaching. You can read the post I did on All Stars Cricket last May (my first one on BOC) HERE.

        As for the strength of club cricket, is that really a thing? THIS ARTICLE suggests that in 2005 there were 6,200 ECB-affiliated clubs of which 3,500 had junior sections. All Stars Cricket was run from 1,800 “centres” (they wanted to avoid using “clubs” for marketing reasons), which suggests that almost half of the junior cricket clubs in England either didn’t sign up for the ECB’s flagship junior cricket initiative or there are significantly fewer clubs now than in 2005.

        Sport England does an annual survey asking how many people are involved in individual sports. In 2008, 380,300 people aged over 16 played cricket “once a month” with 162,200 being a member of a cricket club. In 2016 (the most recent figures), those numbers have fallen to 278,600 players and 139,900 members. In what universe is that considered “good health” and not “terminal decline”??


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