It seems Big Bash League has a New Year resolution to be in the news for reasons relating to the laws of the game. After Michael Neser’s perfectly legal boundary catch got the attention on Sunday, it was Adam Zampa’s turn to create headlines with an attempted run out of non-stiker backing up too far.

So, firstly, here’s what happened. In the last over of the first innings in the derby between Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars, Zampa attempted to run out Tom Rogers at the non-striker’s end.

The batter was clearly far away from the crease but the decision was referred to the TV Umpire, who ruled it not out because “the bowler’s arm has gone past the vertical”.

There was a clarification issued by Marylebone Cricket Club on Twitter, considered to be the guardians of the Laws of Cricket, saying that:

The non-striker can be run out if he/she is out of his/her ground up until the moment the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball.

That means when the arm gets to its highest point. The bowler is *not* entitled to go all the way around in the bowling action and then run the non-striker out

— Explanation from @MCCOfficial on Twitter

But the actual law doesn’t include anything about the vertical position, a part of the ruling that has been open to interpretation and evidently with room for confusion:

Section 38; Run Out

38.3 Non-striker leaving his/her ground early 

38.3.1 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 nonstriker is liable to be Run out by the bowler attempting to run him/her out. In these circumstances, the non- striker will be out Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground when his/her wicket is broken by the bowler throwing the ball at the wicket or by the bowler’s hand holding the ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered. 

38.3.2 If the ball is not delivered, 

- if there is an appeal, the umpire shall make his/her decision on the Run out. 

- if there is no appeal, or if the decision is not out, he/she shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible. - the ball shall not count as one in the over. 

38.3.3 If the ball is delivered and there is an appeal, - the umpire shall make his/her decision on the Run out. 

- if the non-striker is not dismissed, the ball remains in play and clause 21.6 (Bowler breaking wicket in delivering ball) shall apply. 

- if the non-striker is dismissed, the ball shall not count as one in the over.

Bizarrely enough, Stars’ coach David Hussey later said that he spoke to Zampa and had it been given out they would have withdrawn the appeal.

In a much more detailed statement later in the day, the MCC provided an explanation for why Zampa’s attempt was, in their view, rightly overruled:

The point at which the bowler would normally been expected to release the ball has long been defined by MCC as the highest point in that bowler’s action.

The non-striker is no longer able to be Run out in this way after the bowler has reached the highest point in his/her action. This is so that the bowler cannot pretend to bowl the ball in order to tempt the non-striker out of his/her ground, go through his/her action, and then come all the way round and attempt a Run out.

The umpires correctly gave the non-striker (Rogers) not out, as the bowler (Zampa) had not attempted the Run out before going past the point at which he would normally be expected to release the ball.

As with all incidents regarding the running out of the non-striker, MCC would like to re-iterate that the best way for non-strikers to prevent being Run out is to remain in their ground until they see the ball released by the bowler.


But after the incident, in the second half, a fired-up Tom Rogers came out and blew away the Stars batting unit, picking up 5/16 in his four overs.

Also read:

Deepti Sharma’s run out of Charlie Dean in Lord’s ODI: Why all the fuss (again)?