Law 25

Batter's innings; Runners

Players, Substitutes, Runners and Practice Back to laws

25.1  Eligibility to act as a batter or runner

Only a nominated player may bat or act as a runner and, subject to 25.3 and 25.5.2, may do so even though a substitute fielder has previously acted for him/her.

25.2 Commencement of a batter’s innings

The innings of the first two batters, and that of any new batter on the resumption of play after a call of Time, shall commence at the call of Play. At any other time, a batter’s innings shall be considered to have commenced when that batter first steps onto the field of play.

25.3  Restriction on batters commencing an innings

25.3.1 If a member of the batting side has unserved Penalty time, see Law 24.2.7 (Fielder absent or leaving the field of play), that player shall not be permitted to bat or act as a runner until that Penalty time has been served.  However, even if the unserved Penalty time has not expired, that player may bat after his/her side has lost 5 wickets.

25.3.2 A member of the batting side’s Penalty time is served during Playing time, subject to the conditions in and The period of time while serving a suspension for a Level 3 offence under Law 42.4 (Level 3 offences and action by umpires) does not count as Penalty time served. In the event of an unscheduled stoppage, the stoppage time after the batter notifies an umpire in person that he/she is able to participate shall count as Penalty time served.

25.3.3 If any unserved Penalty time remains at the end of a team’s innings, it shall be carried forward to the next and subsequent innings of the match if appropriate. 

25.4 Batters retiring

25.4.1 A batter may retire at any time during his/her innings when the ball is dead. The umpires, before allowing play to proceed, shall be informed of the reason for a batter retiring. 

25.4.2 If a batter retires because of illness, injury or any other unavoidable cause, that batter is entitled to resume his/her innings. If for any reason this does not happen, that batter is to be recorded as ‘Retired - not out’.

25.4.3 If a batterretires for any reason other than as in 25.4.2, the innings of that batter may be resumed only with the consent of the opposing captain. If for any reason his/her innings is not resumed, that batter is to be recorded as ‘Retired - out’.

25.4.4 If after retiring a batter resumes his/her innings, subject to the requirements of 25.4.2 and 25.4.3, it shall be only at the fall of a wicket or the retirement of another batter.

25.5 Runners

25.5.1 The umpires shall allow a runner for a batter if they are satisfied that the batter has sustained an injury that affects his/her ability to run and that this occurred during the match. for any other wholly acceptable reason.

In all other circumstances, a runner is not allowed.

25.5.2 A runner shall be a member of the batting side. if possible, have already completed his/her innings; when this is not possible, if circumstances change such that a dismissed batter can act as runner, then the runner must be changed immediately. be changed only with the consent of the umpires. wear external protective equipment equivalent to that worn by the batter for whom he/she runs and shall carry a bat. not have any unserved Penalty time as described in Law 24.2.7 (Fielder absent or leaving the field of play).

25.5.3 A batter’s runner is subject to the Laws and will be regarded as a batter except where there are special provisions for his/her role as a runner. See Law 30.2 (Which is a batter’s ground).

25.6 Dismissal and conduct of a batter and his/her runner

25.6.1 A batter who has a runner will suffer the penalty for any infringement of the Laws by the runner as if he/she, the batter, had been responsible for the infringement. In particular he/she will be out if the runner is out under either of Laws 37 (Obstructing the field) or 38 (Run out).

25.6.2 When a batter who has a runner is the striker he/she remains subject to the Laws and will be liable to the penalties that any infringement of them demands. In the case of Run out and Stumped, however, special provisions, set out in 25.6.3, 25.6.4 and 25.6.5, apply to him/her as a striker who has a runner.

25.6.3 When a batter who has a runner is the striker, his/her ground is always at the wicket-keeper’s end.

25.6.4 If the striker who has a runner is in his/her ground, and the runner is out of his/her ground at the wicket-keeper’s end when the wicket is fairly broken at that end, the conditions of Law 38 (Run out) shall apply.

25.6.5 If the striker who has a runner is out of his/her ground and the wicket at the wicket-keeper’s end is fairly broken, the striker is liable to be out under Laws 38 (Run out) or 39 (Stumped). If the runner is also out of his/her ground at the wicket-keeper’s end, then only Law 38 (Run out) can apply.

25.6.6 If a striker who has a runner is dismissed as in 25.6.5, the umpire shall

- disallow all runs to the batting side

- return any not out batter to his/her original end

- award any 5-run Penalty that is applicable.

25.6.7 When a batter who has a runner is not the striker, he/she remains subject to Law 37 (Obstructing the field) but is otherwise out of the match. shall stand where directed by the striker’s end umpire so as not to interfere with play. will be liable, even though out of the match as in, to any penalty demanded by the Laws should he/she commit any act of unfair play.

25.7 Restriction on the striker’s runner

25.7.1 Once the ball comes into play, the runner for an injured batter who is the striker shall have part of his/her person or bat grounded behind the popping crease until the ball reaches the striker or passes the popping crease, whichever is the sooner.

25.7.2 If the striker’s end umpire considers the runner for an injured striker to be in breach of this restriction then, if the ball does not become dead for any other reason, he/she shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as the ball reaches the boundary or at the completion of the first run. However, he/she shall delay the call of Dead ball to allow the opportunity for a catch to be completed.

The bowler's end umpire shall

- disallow all runs to the batting side

- return any not out batter to his/her original end

- award any 5-run Penalty that is applicable except for Penalty runs under Law 28.3 (Protective helmets belonging to the fielding side).

25.8 Striker’s right to play the ball

The striker has a right to play the ball, or to make a legitimate second strike, after it has been delivered, without interference from the wicket-keeper or any other fielder. See Law 27.5 (Restrictions on actions of wicket-keeper) and Law 27.6 (Interference with wicket-keeper by striker). However, the striker may only attempt to play the ball if some of his/her bat or person, whether grounded or raised, remains within the pitch, as defined in Law 6.1 (Area of pitch). Should no part of the striker’s bat or person remain within the pitch, whilst the striker is playing the ball, either umpire shall immediately call and signal Dead ball.

© Marylebone Cricket Club 2017

Want to learn more? Why not take a look into MCC’s eLearning programme on the Laws of Cricket. Concentrating on the teaching of Laws knowledge, the programme is split into two parts. Firstly, the interactive module details the Laws in practice using photos, videos and animations to help explain what can be a complicated subject. Secondly, you can test yourself using a multiple-choice exam-based assessment, which can be taken as many times as you wish. 
You’ll need to be online using a tablet or desktop computer to access the system.

Learn more

Listen to actor, broadcaster and writer Stephen Fry, a well known cricket enthusiast and occasional umpire, bring his authoritative voice to the narration of this animation of the law.