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'First claim' Published: 01 October 2010

'First claim'

The recent ODI series between Pakistan and Australia saw a controversial run out where both batsmen ended up at the same end and there was uncertainty over which batsman should have been given out.

In the event, and without checking with the 3rd umpire, the wrong batsman was sent back to the pavilion. Which is a batsman’s ground is covered by Law 29.2, which is summarised as follows: (we use "he" or "his" to help in this explanation but of course the same laws apply for women cricketers):

There are three criteria for judging in the normal situation which batsman has a particular ground as his ground. These are:
Possession: he is in the ground and the other batsman is not.

First claim: he was within the ground before the other batsman arrived there.

Nearness: they are both in mid-pitch and, of the two batsmen, he is the one nearer to the ground. If the batsmen are level, a batsman’s ground is whichever was nearer immediately prior to their drawing level.

In the case where both batsmen are in the same ground, it would be ‘first claim’ that would apply. Who arrived there first?

An important point is that if a ground belongs to one batsman, then the other ground by definition belongs to the other batsman, unless a runner is involved, which is covered by Law 29.2(e).

A batsman who has a runner but who is not himself the striker will stand behind the striker’s end umpire and become involved only if he handles the ball, obstructs the field or commits any other unfair act.

When he is the striker, however, his ground is always the one at the wicket-keeper’s end, but he has to share this ground with one of the other two (runner and non-striker).

Which of them, at any particular moment, can also count the wicket-keeper’s end as his ground is decided exactly as it would have been if they were the only two batsmen.

If, for example, the injured striker hits a ball to the outfield and the runner and the non-striker attempt to run two, both the runner and the injured striker must be in their ground at the wicket-keeper’s end when the wicket is put down.

The injured striker must therefore make sure that he returns to his ground after playing the ball, as he can be run out at any stage, even if his runner or the non-striker are in their ground at the wicket-keeper’s end.

If there are two injured strikers and therefore two runners, the same principles apply but the chances for confusion and run outs undoubtedly increase!


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