R Ashwin’s run out of Jos Buttler in Jaipur during the Indian Premier League match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab has created a furore in the cricketing world. Now, Marylebone Cricket Club (considering the custodians of the games laws), has issued a statement on the issue, clarifying that the umpire was within his right to declare Buttler out.
Ashwin, who is the captain of Kings XI Punjab, ran out the Rajasthan Royals opener, who was at the non-striker’s end, on his delivery stride in an IPL match in Jaipur on Monday. The act has left the cricket world divided on the ‘spirit of the game’.
Ashwin has defended himself stating that what he did was well within the rules of the game. But Royals Brand Ambassador Shane Warne and coach Paddy Upton, among others, have lashed out at the spinner, questioning his integrity.
First, here’s the law that governs the non-striker’s run out:
Law 41.16 Non-striker leaving his/her ground early
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 full text of MCC’s statement, reiterating the importance of the non-striker staying behind the crease:
The crux of the issue is when the non-striker can safely leave his/her ground, and what the bowler can do to effect this form of dismissal without courting controversy. To clarify, it has never been in the Laws that a warning should be given to the non-striker and nor is it against the Spirit of Cricket to run out a non-striker who is seeking to gain an advantage by leaving his/her ground early.
Furthermore, with batsmen now being deemed in or out by millimetres by TV replays on quick singles, it is right that they should remain in their ground at the non-striker’s end until it is fair for them to leave.
[Monday’s] incident could have been ruled out or not out, depending on how “the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball” is interpreted. Some feel that Ashwin delayed his action to allow Buttler the chance to leave his ground and that Buttler was in his ground when he expected the ball to be released. If it was a deliberate delay, that would be unfair and against the Spirit of Cricket. Ashwin claims this not to be the case.
The TV umpire had to make a decision and, under the Law (and indeed ICC’s interpretation of them, which clarifies the expected moment of release as when the arm reaches its highest point), it was understandable how he opted to give Buttler out.
It is up to both teams to ensure that the game is played within both the Laws and the Spirit of Cricket. Non-strikers must be careful not to gain an unfair advantage by leaving their ground early, while bowlers must act within the timeframe outlined in the Law to effect a Run out under Law 41.16.