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Law 41 (The fielder)

1. Protective equipment

No fielder other than the wicket-keeper shall be permitted to wear gloves or external leg guards. In addition, protection for the hand or fingers may be worn only with the consent of the umpires.

2. Fielding the ball

A fielder may field the ball with any part of his person, but if, while the ball is in play, he wilfully fields it otherwise,

(a) the ball shall immediately become dead.

and (b) the umpire shall,

(i) award 5 penalty runs to the batting side.

(ii) The penalty for a No ball or a Wide shall stand. Additionally, runs completed by the batsmen shall be credited to the batting side, together with the run in progress if the batsmen had already crossed at the instant of the offence.

(iii) inform the other umpire and the captain of the fielding side of the reason for this action.

(iv) inform the batsmen and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side of what has occurred.

(c) The ball shall not count as one of the over.

(d) The umpires together shall report the occurrence as soon as possible after the match to the Executive of the fielding side and to any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and the player or players concerned.

3. Protective helmets belonging to the fielding side

Protective helmets, when not in use by fielders, should, if above the surface, be placed only on the ground behind the wicket-keeper and in line with both sets of stumps.

If a protective helmet belonging to the fielding side is on the ground within the field of play, and the ball while in play strikes it, the ball shall become dead and, except in the circumstances of Law 34 (Hit the ball twice), 5 penalty runs shall then be awarded to the batting side, in addition to the penalty for a No ball or a Wide, if applicable.  

Additionally runs completed by the batsmen before the ball strikes the protective helmet shall be scored, together with the run in progress if the batsmen had already crossed at the instant of the ball striking the protective helmet.  See Law 18.10 (Runs scored when the ball becomes dead other than at the fall of a wicket).

If, however, the circumstances of Law 34 apply, neither the 5 penalty runs nor any runs to the batsman are to be awarded.  See Law 34.4 (Runs scored from a ball lawfully struck more than once).

4. Penalty runs not to be awarded

Notwithstanding 2 and 3 above, if from the delivery by the bowler, the ball first struck the person of the striker and, if in the opinion of the umpire, the striker,

neither (i) attempted to play the ball with his bat,

nor (ii) tried to avoid being hit by the ball,

then no award of 5 penalty runs shall be made and no other runs or penalties shall be credited to the batting side except the penalty for a No ball, if applicable.

If runs are attempted, the umpire should follow the procedure laid down in Law 26.3 (Leg byes not to be awarded).

5. Limitation of on side fielders

At the instant of the bowler’s delivery there shall not be more than two fielders, other than the wicket-keeper, behind the popping crease on the on side. A fielder will be considered to be behind the popping crease unless the whole of his person whether grounded or in the air is in front of this line.
In the event of infringement of this Law by any fielder, the striker’s end umpire shall call and signal No ball.

6. Fielders not to encroach on pitch

While the ball is in play and until the ball has made contact with the striker’s bat or person, or has passed the striker’s bat, no fielder, other than the bowler, may have any part of his person grounded on or extended over the pitch.

In the event of infringement of this Law by any fielder other than the wicket-keeper, the bowler’s end umpire shall call and signal No ball as soon as possible after delivery of the ball. Note, however, Law 40.3 (Position of wicket-keeper).

7. Movement by fielders

Any significant movement by any fielder after the ball comes into play, and before the ball reaches the striker, is unfair. In the event of such unfair movement, either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball. Note also the provisions of Law 42.4 (Deliberate attempt to distract striker).

8. Definition of significant movement

(a) For close fielders anything other than minor adjustments to stance or position in relation to the striker is significant.

(b) In the outfield, fielders are permitted to move towards the striker or the striker’s wicket, provided that 5 above is not contravened. Anything other than slight movement off line or away from the striker is to be considered significant.

(c) For restrictions on movement by the wicket-keeper see Law 40.4 (Movement by wicket-keeper).

© Marylebone Cricket Club 2013


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