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Law 24 - Fielders' absence; Substitutes

THE LAW

24.1 Substitute fielders

24.1.1 The umpires shall allow a substitute fielder

24.1.1.1 if they are satisfied that a fielder has been injured or become ill and that this occurred during the match, or

24.1.1.2 for any other wholly acceptable reason. 

In all other circumstances, a substitute is not allowed.

24.1.2 A substitute shall not bowl or act as captain but may act as wicket-keeper only with the consent of the umpires.  Note, however, Law 42.7.1 (Additional points relating to Level 3 and Level 4 offences).

24.1.3 A nominated player may bowl or field even though a substitute has previously acted for him/her, subject to 24.2, 24.3 and Law 42.4 (Level 3 offences and action by umpires).

24.2 Fielder absent or leaving the field of play

24.2.1 A player going briefly outside the boundary while carrying out any duties as a fielder is not absent from the field of play nor, for the purposes of this Law, is he/she to be regarded as having left the field of play.

24.2.2 If a fielder fails to take the field at the start of play or at any later time, or leaves the field during play,

24.2.2.1 an umpire shall be informed of the reason for this absence.

24.2.2.2 he/she shall not thereafter come on to the field of play during a session of play without the consent of the umpire.  See 24.4.  The umpire shall give such consent as soon as it is practicable.        

24.2.2.3 he/she shall not be permitted to bowl, until having been back on the field of play for a period of time known as Penalty time as described in 24.2.3 to 24.2.7 and 24.3.

24.2.3 A player’s unserved Penalty time shall be limited to a maximum of 90 minutes.

24.2.4 If the player leaves the field before having served all of his/her Penalty time, the balance is carried forward as unserved Penalty time.

24.2.5 The player shall not bowl until all of his/her Penalty time has been served. On any occasion of absence, the amount of Playing time for which the player is off the field shall be added to any Penalty time that remains unserved, subject to 24.2.3.

24.2.6 If there is an unscheduled break in play, the stoppage time shall count as Penalty time served, provided that,

24.2.6.1 the fielder who was on the field of play at the start of the break either takes the field on the resumption of play, or his/her side is now batting.

24.2.6.2 the fielder who was already off the field at the start of the break notifies an umpire in person as soon as he/she is able to participate, and either takes the field on the resumption of play, or his/her side is now batting.  Stoppage time before an umpire has been so notified shall not count towards unserved Penalty time.

24.2.7 Any unserved Penalty time shall be carried forward into the next and subsequent days and innings of the match, as applicable.

24.2.8 If a Level 3 offence under Law 42.4 (Level 3 offences and action by umpires) is committed by a fielder, the period of time spent off the field of play as a result of the suspension shall not be added to any unserved Penalty time if he/she takes the field at the end of the period of suspension.

24.2.9 If a Level 3 offence under Law 42.4 (Level 3 offences and action by umpires) is committed by a substitute, the following shall apply.

24.2.9.1 The period of time spent off the field as a result of the suspension shall not be added to any Penalty time that remains unserved if the nominated player takes the field at the end of the period of suspension.  However, any time spent off the field prior to the offence causing the suspension will remain as unserved Penalty time, subject to 24.2.3.

24.2.9.2 If the nominated player does not take the field at the end of the period of suspension, then the entire period of his/her absence will be treated as Penalty time, up to a maximum of 90 minutes.

24.3 Penalty time not incurred

A nominated player’s absence will not incur Penalty time if,

24.3.1 he/she has suffered an external blow during the match and, as a result, has justifiably left the field or is unable to take the field.

24.3.2 in the opinion of the umpires, the player has been absent or has left the field for other wholly acceptable reasons, which shall not include illness or internal injury.

24.4 Player returning without permission

If a player comes on to the field of play in contravention of 24.2.2 and comes into contact with the ball while it is in play, the ball shall immediately become dead.

- The umpire shall award 5 Penalty runs to the batting side.

- Runs completed by the batsmen shall be scored together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the offence.

- The ball shall not count as one of the over.

- The umpire shall inform the other umpire, the captain of the fielding side, the batsmen and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side of the reason for this action.

- The umpires together shall report the occurrence as soon as possible after the match to the Executive of the offending side and to any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain, any other individuals concerned and, if appropriate, the team.

© Marylebone Cricket Club 2017

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