The Marylebone Cricket Club, the sport’s law keepers, have refrained from contesting umpire Vinod Seshan’s decision to signal dead ball after Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Shiva Singh produced a 360 degree swirl as ran up to deliver a ball during his side’s U-23 CK Nayudu Trophy clash against Bengal.
While the MCC accepted that laws don’t “dictate” what a bowler’s run-up should look like, but upheld the umpire’s discretion in interpreting the law based on the “facts of the day”.
“Under Law 21.1, the bowler must state his/her mode of delivery, which seems to have been left arm round the wicket in this case, but does not state how conventional the bowler’s approach should be,” the MCC’s Law department said in the Lord’s Law blog.
According to Law 41.4, it is unfair for any fielder deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he/she is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery.
Law 41.4.2 reads: If either umpire considers that any action by a fielder is such an attempt, he/she shall immediately call and signal Dead ball and inform the other umpire of the reason for the call.
The laws treat the bowler as a fielder.
The MCC stated that the offence is an “attempt to distract the striker”, rather than the striker “actually being distracted”. The procedure in Law 41.4 also includes the awarding of five penalty runs.
The MCC added that unless the 360 degree twirl was part of the bowler’s run-up for every ball, the umpire may need to consider if the action was intended as a distraction.
The MCC cited the example of England pacer Stuart Broad, who received a warning from the match referee during a match against South Africa in 2009 for pointing at the cover fielder during his run-up, as it was felt to be a distraction tactic.
It concluded that it was “for the umpire to decide if he felt that the tactic was done as an attempt to distract the striker.”
“The umpire in this example felt that Law 41.4 had been breached.”