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.
The changed boundary
"I played my second week of my semi final last night and we were chasing. Everyone in the team noticed that the boundary was 5 to 10 metres longer than the previous week, when we were bowling. The opposing team refused to shorten the boundary to the same length as the previous week. As a result, we lost several runs (about 20) and also several wickets on the 'boundary', these would have been 6 last week.”How are we meant to deal with such a situation, especially when chasing a very big total?"
It is good to hear that you didn't let this frustration prevent you from completing the match.
Law 19 requires that the captains and umpires agree the boundary before the toss. After that, it is the responsibility of the umpires to ensure that all Laws and pre-toss agreements are adhered to. This principle must apply even if there are no appointed umpires, though, of course, player-umpires will have more difficulty in imposing themselves on captains and on ground authorities. Having completed the match, there is nothing that can be done under the Laws of Cricket to remedy this situation - once the scores have been agreed, the result cannot be changed (Law 21.10). You should, however, refer the matter to the Authority responsible for the competition. They cannot change the result of the match, but they could, perhaps, (it would depend on the
Competition regulations and whether they were satisfied that the boundary had been set up differently when your side batted) choose to declare the conduct of the match to be invalid and order that it be replayed.
Law 19 Boundaries (Open Learning Manual Page 57)
Only ten men fielded
"The opposition gave in their list of players to the umpires, lost the toss and fielded throughout our innings with only ten men their captain said their missing player ‘might turn up later.’ Then they batted. When their ninth wicket fell, we all started to troop off, thinking the game was over. Suddenly, the missing eleventh man on their original team list walked out and hit the 4 runs needed to win. Is this fair?"
It may have seemed somewhat unusual, but what this team did was not illegal according to the Laws of the game. There are Laws that govern when a bowler is able to bowl should he arrive late for a session of play, or what happens if a batsman is forced, or indeed chooses to retire, but no Law insists that a batsman must field before or after he bats.
Law 1.2 The players. (Open Learning Manual Page 4)
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