The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has reiterated its position on non-strikers being run out for backing up too far. It has said the growing narrative and vilification of the bowlers during that type of dismissal is unfair. However, the Non – Striker Run Out Law has been deemed not only correct but also necessary by the MCC.

“Our stance on this is simple – batters must not steal ground if they do not wish to be given out in this manner. Nor should they be expecting to be given a warning if they do. If all non-strikers only left the popping crease once the ball had been released, there would never be the need for such a dismissal again,” Mike Gatting, the chair of the MCC World Cricket Committee, said in a statement on February 23rd.

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Committee member Kumara Sangakkara was even more supportive of the bowler. “The bowler is not the villain here. Every batter has a choice; to stay in their ground. Or else they can risk being given out if they try to steal ground. If they choose the latter, they are the ones who are breaking the Law,” the former Sri Lanka captain noted.

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The MCC’s reiteration of its stand was taken at a meeting held at the ICC headquarters in Dubai last week. The MCC, recognised as the sole authority on the game’s laws, said, “Part of the discussion in Dubai touched on the growing narrative for the bowler to be vilified for this type of dismissal. The committee members were unanimous in their view. They felt that the batter stealing ground is the one breaking the Laws of the game and deserves recrimination. They also agreed that there is no precedent to require a bowler to give a warning to a batter. Bowlers are completely within their right to dismiss the batter on the first occasion they break the Law.”

Deepti Sharma Had to Bear the Brunt

Deepti Sharma bore the brunt of media’s campaign after she ran out Charlie Dean in an ODI at Lord’s. The English media rose up in unison condemning Deepti and called for immediate change of rules. One newspaper in London ran a full page coverage on the dismissal. “The MCC will have to change the Laws of Cricket. What Deepti Sharma did at Lord’s looked wrong, whatever the existing Law says,” a report on the page had read.

But the MCC said such dismissals are not only correct but necessary. “The MCC World Cricket committee (WCC) has unanimously agreed that the Law regarding the act of non-strikers leaving their ground early and subsequently being run out is not only correct but necessary to ensure that non-strikers do not gain an unfair advantage,” the statement said. It has now called for calm across all levels of the game, from the grassroots level of recreational cricket to the elite level, stating that “the act of running out a non-striker who opts to steal ground is within the Laws of the game.”

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The committee noted the incident involving Adam Zampa who attempted to run out non-striker Tom Rogers. This was in a Big Bash League game. “The overriding factor is that there is a simple way that all confusion and controversy around this form of dismissal can be eradicated — by non-strikers complying with the Law and remaining within their ground until they have seen the ball being released from the bowler’s hand,” the MCC committee said.

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