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Law 18 in Action

A Short running and a runner


Could you please comment on the following episode. The striker had been allowed a runner by the umpires. After a quick single the umpire at the striker’s end called and signalled Short run. After the match, he explained his action by pointing out that the runner had been outside his ground before the ball was delivered and therefore the run was short. Was this correct? If not, what should the umpire have done?


According to the definition in Law 18, a run is a short run when a batsman fails to make good his ground in turning for a further run. This is clearly not the case in the situation described, so calling Short run was not appropriate.

There is nothing in the Laws which requires any batsman - and that includes a runner, under Law 2.8(a) - to be within his ground at any particular time. Instead the Law provides that a batsman can be run out if he is not in his ground while the ball is in play. The bowler is specifically permitted to try to run out the non-striker before entering his delivery stride. He can also do so for the striker at the expense of a penalty for a No ball. Although in theory the same is true for a runner, it is a much less realistic option for the bowler; he may not even be aware that the runner was not in his ground. The striker’s end umpire could therefore be justified in considering it unfair for the runner to be standing noticeably out of his ground before the bowler enters his delivery stride. He would then call Dead ball under Law 42.2 and follow the procedure of Law 42.18. For the runner to start to run before delivery would certainly be unfair. The umpire must use his judgment as to what amounts to an unfair advantage if the runner is merely standing with no part of bat or person grounded behind the popping crease.

[Law reference: 18.4]

Difference between failure to complete run and short running


The batsmen run a single on the last ball of an over. The striker unintentionally just fails tomake good his ground at the bowler’s end, and starts to walk unhurriedly towards his partner for a chat. It is clear that both sides regard the ball as dead. Before calling Over, should the umpire call and signal Short run?


No. A run is short only when the batsman, having failed to make good his ground, turns for a further run.

It is clear that all regard the ball as dead. Clearly the striker is not trying to take a further run when he goes to ‘have a chat’. Therefore, there has not been any short run.

It is true that the run has not in fact been scored, under the definition in Law 18.1(a), but the umpire is empowered to call Short run only when there is short running. Law 42.2 states very firmly that umpires are not to interfere with the progress of play, unless either a player’s action is considered unfair or they are required to do so by the Laws.

The call is not required by Law. The umpire cannot consider the player to be trying to gain an unfair advantage in the situation described. Therefore he cannot intervene.

On the other hand, the batsmen have clearly crossed, so under Law 18.11 (Runs scored when ball becomes dead) the run in progress when the ball becomes dead will be credited to the batting side

[Law reference: 18.4, 18.1, 18.11, 42.2]

Batsmen abandoning attempt to complete run


The ball is struck hard into the outfield. The batsmen run and cross, but seeing that the ball is going to cross the boundary, turn and go back to their original ends. Doesn’t Law 18.5 as written mean that this is deliberate short running?


No. Whether deliberate or unintentional, a run is short only if the batsman’s failure to make good his ground is in turning for a further run. Provided that it is clear to the umpires that the intentions of the batsmen were merely to abandon the first run, rather than to attempt to take a second one, there has been no short running. The boundary would be allowed.

If in this situation it transpired that the ball failed to cross the boundary, no run would be

[Law reference: 18.5]

Run deliberately not completed and boundary overthrows as winning score


One run is wanted to win. The batsmen run but, just after they cross, a fielder attempts a run out. The ball misses the stumps and runs on towards the boundary. The striker stands outside his crease, deliberately not grounding his bat until the ball has crossed the boundary. How many runs are to be allowed?


There is nothing illegal about a batsman’s deliberately refraining from completing a run. It is only if he does so when turning for a further run that he is deliberately running short. Therefore the boundary is not to be disallowed on this account. The run has, however, not been completed.

This is not a situation of running after a lawful second strike, so the boundary is a boundary overthrow. Law 19.6 states that if the boundary results from an overthrow, the runs scored shall be Penalties (none in this case) the allowance for the boundary (presumably 4), the runs completed by the batsmen (none) together with the run in progress, if they have crossed at the instant of the throw (which they had). However, this run does not achieve the status of a run added to the score until the ball crosses the boundary.

Therefore, the batting side had not made enough to win before the ball crossed the boundary. Under Law 21.6(c) they will be credited with ‘the whole of the boundary allowance’.

5 runs will be allowed (i.e. boundary allowance plus 1).

[Law reference: 21.6, 18.4, 19.6]

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