Cricket seems like a straight forward game on the outside – the team that scores more runs wins the game. And of course, that is the primary purpose of the game. But then comes the 2019 World Cup final which makes you rethink if you know anything about the game at all. There are a few crazy rules in Cricket which are just difficult to digest, and a few are impossible to understand (looking at you DLS). Here are eight such weird ICC rules:
Let’s get started with the elephant in the room – The Boundary count rule. We all know what went down at the Lord’s a few weeks ago. England and New Zealand were fighting for the most prestigious prize in World Cricket. Chasing 242, Ben Stokes somehow managed to take the game in the Super Over after tied scores.
But the craziness was written all over the game that day. Both teams scored 15 runs each in the Super Over and England were crowned champions based on superior boundary count. (England 26, New Zealand 17)
The rule says, in case of a tied score in the Super Over, the team that has more boundaries throughout the game is declared the winner. ICC has come under fire due to that rule after the final. And it might even be changed in the future. But the boundary count rule will always be remembered for its say in the 2019 World Cup final.
Yet another rule that received a lot of heat and for obvious reasons. In simple words, if a fielder fails to throw the ball correctly or if a player collecting that ball mishandles it, batsmen can go for an extra run or two. Sometimes the ball ever rolls down to the boundary line.
But during the World Cup final, Martin Guptill’s throw ricocheted off Ben Stokes’ bat to go for four. If it was a deliberate attempt by Stokes, he would have been given out under field obstruction rule. But the all-rounder was completely unaware about the throw which worked in his favour. The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) has decided to take a look at this rule to avoid further incidences but can they roll back time to save those four runs for New Zealand?
3Net Run Rate
New Zealand and Pakistan both finished the group stage of the World Cup with 11 points. But the Blackcaps finished fourth due to superior net run rate. Although it is also not the most liked rule in Cricket, NRR is not a very difficult rule to understand. (Depending on your love for maths)
Match NRR = Total Runs Scored/Total Overs Faced – Total Runs Conceded/Total Overs Faced
But keep in mind that, in any tournament, every run and ball counts.
Tournament NRR = Total Runs Scored in all matches/Total Overs faced in all matches – Total Runs Conceded in all matches/Total Overs bowled in all matches
Therefore, tournament NRR is not the average NRR of all the games, but in fact, each run and ball is taken into consideration.
4Up to Two Fielders behind Square on legside
Cricket is called the gentlemen’s game. But nothing about bodyline bowling is gentlemanly. To make sure, the bowler does not continue delivering constant bouncers, the fielding team is not allowed to have more than 2 fielders behind square on the leg side in any format of the game.
5Arms Before Wicket?
In simple terms, if the ball hits batman’s leg in front of the stump, the batsman is adjourned out. But in this infamous case, Sachin Tendulkar was given out by Daryl Harper after Glenn McGrath’s delivery hit him on the arms.
In the umpire’s defence, Tendulkar’s arm was obviously in front of the stumps and saved the ball from hitting the stumps. The same rule applies to other body parts as well.
6Withdrawal of an Appeal
Umpires are humans after all, and they can make mistakes too. So if the fielding captain feels that the batsman was incorrectly given out, he/she can take back an appeal with the consent of the umpire who can call back the batsman.
One such famous incident happened between India and England during a test match. Eoin Morgan hit the ball to the deep square leg, and non-striker Ian Bell started walking towards the pavilion, thinking it went for four. But the ball never touched the boundary rope, and an Indian fielder dislodged the bails with Bell out of the crease. The Englishman was given out but MS Dhoni, the Indian captain decided to withdraw the appeal, and Ian Bell returned to the field after tea.
7Bails Must Fall
We have seen a lot of examples of this during the World Cup. The technologically advanced lighting bails are usually heavier than traditional wooden bails. So on a few occasions, the bails do not fall off despite the ball hitting the stumps. The rule says that a batsman cannot be given out if the bails do not come off.
8Game without bails
Speaking of bails, one of the Cricket rules also says that the game can go ahead without actually using bails. This can happen if the umpires decide the conditions are too windy for bails to be used. But the rule also requires umpires to resume the use of bails as soon as the conditions are improved.