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MCC clarifies Law on non-strikers leaving their ground early

Posted: 19 January 2023

MCC has today issued a clarification on Law 38.3 concerning the act of non-strikers leaving their ground early.

During a Big Bash game earlier this month, there was an incident in which bowler Adam Zampa attempted to Run out the non-striker, Tom Rogers, who was given not out by the umpires.

MCC released a statement on this incident (here) clarifying its interpretation of this Law, which has been consistent for some time. The umpires were correct in their decision.

However, we acknowledge that while this Law has generally been understood well by players and umpires, there is ambiguity in the wording which could lead to confusion. MCC has therefore moved to change the wording of Law 38.3 to deliver better clarity. The current wording led some to think that if the non-striker left his/her ground before the expected moment of release, then the Run out could happen at any moment, even after the bowler had gone through the bowling action. That was never the intention of this Law, nor the way it was ever interpreted by MCC.

It is important to note that this does not change the way the Law should be interpreted – it has been interpreted that way for the past six years, without much misunderstanding. However, the intention is that this will make things clearer.

The new Law reads:

38.3.1 At any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground. In these circumstances the non-striker will be out Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground when his/her wicket is put down by the bowler throwing the ball at the stumps or by the bowler’s hand holding the ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered. The instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball is defined as the moment the bowler’s arm reaches the highest point of his/her normal bowling action in the delivery swing. Even if the non-striker had left his/her ground before the instant at which the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, once the bowler has reached that point it is no longer possible for the bowler to run out the non-striker under this Law.

This becomes Law immediately, and is in effect from January 19 2023. Because this is not a material change to the meaning of the Law, MCC will not be re-printing Law books, but the change has already been reflected in all online materials.

There is a document available on the Lord's website HERE which addresses the most frequently asked questions about this Law, and MCC’s stance on the running out of non-strikers.

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