This edition of Umpires Corner in association with the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring covers some more tricky questions of the Laws.
Many times on the pitch (and after the game) we have come to discuss whether a controversial situation should be allowed or not. There are precious few players with a deep enough understanding of the laws for our arguments to be resolved, but many times it's the players who also act as umpires. Now we can consult a team of expert experienced umpires for the answers to those tricky questions. You can submit your own questions to the umpires here
Can a batsman return after retiring?
“We batted poorly and set too low a total. The opposition’s opener knocked up a big score in no time. With the winning line in sight, he said he would ‘give someone else a go’, and walked off. Things then promptly turned round and wickets started to fall very quickly. At the fall of their ‘last’ wicket, with only eight runs needed, the batsman who had retired marched out to the middle to resume his innings. Our captain objected to this, and so we won the match. But what is the Law about ‘retiring’"If he retires through illness, injury or any other unavoidable reason, a batsman may resume his innings later, when a wicket falls, if he’s fit to do so. But if he chooses to retire, as here, he is recorded as Retired Out. He can resume his innings only if the fielding captain agrees – and he’s not obliged to consent.
Law 2.9 (Substitutes and runners; batsman or fielder leaving the field; batsman retiring; batsman commencing innings) (Open Learning Manual Page 5)
Can umpires call off play?
“We were about to play a really vital game in the league. It had been raining, on and off, all week, and it’s true the ground was slippery, but we were keen to play the match, and so were the other side. The umpires inspected the pitch twice and eventually called off play, even though both captains wanted to continue. Are the umpires allowed to do this?”
They’re not only allowed to, they’re obliged to do this!
There is a big difference between playing conditions being just ‘unsuitable’ and them being ‘unreasonable’ or ‘dangerous’. In this case, the umpires judged that there was an obvious and foreseeable risk of someone being injured. They had to use their duty of care to prevent this happening; this was done for everyone’s safety.
Law 3.9 The umpires (Open Learning Manual Page 11)
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