During the recent Women’s One-Day International between Australia and Pakistan at North Sydney Oval, there was a moment of significant controversy when Nida Dar appeared to be bowled by Tahlia McGrath.
Dar backed away from the delivery, which hit the stumps. However, Dead ball was called by the umpire, leading to some confusion on commentary and social media. However, it is clear that the umpire made the correct decision.
The Law in question here is Law 126.96.36.199, which states that either umpire should call and signal Dead ball when ‘the striker is not ready for the delivery of the ball and, if the ball is delivered, makes no attempt to play it.’
Clearly Dar, who only looked up as McGrath was well into her delivery action, did not make an attempt to play the ball, and thus is protected by this Law. The moment when the batter pulled out is not relevant – as long as the umpire is satisfied that the striker was not ready for the delivery, it does not matter that her actual step away was after the ball had been delivered.
It is worth noting that a batter cannot simply determine that the delivery was too good for them, and back away. If the umpire believes they were ready to face, and then backed away, they are not protected by this Law (they may be protected by Law 188.8.131.52 if they are distracted, but that is a different matter).
However, the video clearly shows, in this case, that Dar was looking down as McGrath entered her delivery stride, and only looked up for the first time as the ball was being delivered. This is clearly a case of a batter who was not ready.