Graeme Cremer was denied the key scalp of Mahela Jayawardene in Zimbabwe's match against Sri Lanka at the ICC World Twenty20 due to a rare beast - the back-foot no ball.
Clever use of the width of the crease is an important weapon in the arsenal of most wrist-spinners, but it backfired for Zimbabwe's leggie Cremer in the opening match of the T20 in Hambantota.
Jayawardene was trapped plumb in front as he delivered a ball which skidded on and past his inside edge. Up, quick-as-a-flash, went the Umpire's finger and Cremer was celebrating the wicket of one of the finest batsmen of his generation. But not for long.
A replay was called for retrospectively which showed that the Zimbabwe slow bowler had in fact broken the return crease with his back foot.
The first part of Law 24.5 reads: For a delivery to be fair in respect of the feet, in the delivery stride
(a) the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease appertaining to his stated mode of delivery.
This is further explained in the Laws Open Learning Manual:
The requirement on the back foot is stated in Law 24.5(a). ‘Within and not touching’ means that the condition has been satisfied even if the ball of the foot lands inside the crease and not touching it but with the heel in the air above the crease.
In effect, this means that Cremer would not have been no-balled had his back foot not touched the ground at any point outside of the return crease (which, of course, includes the line itself.)
The difficulty,and rarity, of spotting this type of no ball (the umpire of course is also trying to spot the more common front foot no ball) means it is something which bowlers have occasionally got away with in the past - but not Graeme Cremer.