The issue of non-strikers leaving their crease too early has been addressed ingeniously. Australia‘s fast bowler Mitchell Starc, proposes that umpires employ on-ground cameras to make “short-run” rulings if the non-striker tries to gain an advantage.
Recently, Starc came under scrutiny for the problem. After he casually alerted Jos Buttler to the England batter’s propensity. He intended to depart the non-end strikers before releasing the ball. Starc currently believes that there would be “no grey area”. If the batting side were to get penalize a run in such a situation.
Deepti Sharma ran Charlie Dean out at Lord’s last month for backing up at the non-end. There was a discussion over the fairness of such a decision and the spirit of cricket.
What Starc Thinks of the Issue
Starc asked The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. “Why not make it black and white and remove it from the realm of interpretation?” There is no room for error when the batter exits the crease before the front foot touches the ground.
“And in T20 cricket where runs are so handy at the back end and games can be decided by one, two, three runs all the time, if all of a sudden you get docked 20 runs because a batter’s leaving early, you’re going to stop doing it, aren’t you?
“It’s harder to do down the levels of cricket, but particularly in international cricket, there are always going to be cameras square-on for the front foot and for the run-outs. So, why not? And if it either makes the batters think about it – or stops it occurring – isn’t that a good thing?”
According to Starc, umpires who decide the penalty for the batting side will prevent bowlers from really considering such dismissals.
“Then there’s no stigma,” Starc said. “It’s taken away from the decision to have to run someone out or think about it. If it’s blatant, it is a different story, but I feel like that is at least completely black-and-white.”
Starc also said that, earlier this year, during the ODI series between the two teams. He had to issue many warnings to New Zealand hitters prior to the incident involving Buttler.
“I’ve warned batters plenty of times, [Buttler] is not the first occasion,” Starc said. “I warned probably seven Kiwi batters in those ODI games in the top end. Some were two metres outside their crease. As I said to Jos, I could never see myself doing it [running a non-striker out], but it doesn’t mean that you should then feel free to leave your crease early.”
The Persistent Problem of ‘Mankading’
Bowlers like R Ashwin, who ran Buttler out in a similar manner in an IPL match in 2019. He has been outspoken about supporting the usage of the punishment. In fact, Buttler was out in a same manner in their ODI series-deciding match at Edgbaston in 2014 against Sri Lanka when Sachitra Senanayake flicked the bails off at the non-end striker’s to catch Buttler short.
One of the most divisive and contentious issues in cricket in the past was running a non-striker out. In the past, bowlers who have previously practised running non-strikers out—like West Indies’ Keemo Paul during an Under-19 World Cup match, for instance—have backed off from doing so after facing criticism for their choice.
Following Deepti’s choice to terminate Dean, the MCC has aggressively worked to de-stigmatize the method of termination by revising its legal texts and highlighting its validity. A bowler is not legally compelled to warn non-strikers before actually shattering the stumps, although some prefer to do so.
This was accomplished by the MCC in its most recent update by moving the action of a player being run out by the bowler while backing up from Law 41 (which deals with unfair play) to Law 38 (which deals with run-outs).