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Avoid the middle ground

If you were watching the India-Australia Test series at the end of last year, you might have spotted an incident in the third Test at Delhi.

The umpires denied VVS Laxman right a run after he had run across the pitch while taking a single. This caused confusion among the commentators, as Laxman had not previously been cautioned. They thought you needed a caution, then you would lose the run on the second offence.

In fact, it was his partner Anil Kumble who had caused the umpire to issue the Indian team with a warning.

Unlike warnings given to bowlers for following through on to the protected area, warnings given to members of the batting side count against the whole side.

So, if the umpires have issued a caution it will apply to all of the batting side and the umpires should inform each new batsman.

If there is a second transgression by anyone, such as by Laxman, all runs to the batting side for that delivery are disallowed (other than any penalty for a no-ball or a wide) and the batsmen must return to their original ends.

The second and final warning is given to the offending batsman and, again, his partner and all incoming batsmen are to be informed.

If there are further infringements, the same sanctions as for the second transgression take place and also five penalty runs are awarded to the fielding side.

The umpires should then send a report against the captain and players concerned to the governing body responsible for the match.

In this offence the damage to the pitch must have been avoidable and it should be noted that the damage is to the whole pitch and not just ‘the protected area’, which starts five feet from the popping crease and extends one foot either side of an imaginary line joining the middle stumps (the protected area is relevant only for the bowler’s follow-through).

So the striker has to move off the pitch as soon as is reasonable when he sets off for a run.

A bowler will receive a caution and then a final warning for running on the protected area but a third offence results in a suspension from bowling for the remainder of the innings.
For fielders there is only one warning and, on all subsequent offences by any member of the fielding side, the batting side are awarded five penalty runs - again the relevant governing body should receive a report of the incident at the end of the game.

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