Various dimensions to running between the wickets

In cricket, the most common mode of scoring runs is when the striker hits the ball followed by which the two batsmen on the pitch exchange their ends by crossing the crease on either side of the pitch. The number of runs scored by this method is equal to the number of times the two batsmen exchanged their ends.

Running to score runs requires a great deal of athleticism and understanding between the two players on the field. They need to judge how far the ball is likely to travel before the fielder gets hold of it and throws it back to the fielder near the stumps. There is absolutely no limits as to how much runs can the batsmen run in one ball. The maximum limit to think in the most practical way is four. But that too is rare. Most of the times a fielder chasing the ball beyond the 30 yard circle is able to fetch the ball and the batsmen are likely to have run two or three runs by then. However, if a fielder misfires his throw such that it results in the ball crossing the boundary line, the batting team and the batsman will get is: the number of runs ran by the batsman before the ball crossed the boundary line plus four. For example, if the batsman have run three runs and then the bowler’s overthrow goes to the boundary, then the seven runs are added to the team’s total.

Before the bowler bowls, the batsman at the non-striker end or at the bowler’s end is supposed to be inside the crease. However, there have been multiple instances where the non-strike batsman in anticipation of a quick run made his move out of the crease as the bowler takes his run-up. In such cases, bowlers have dislodged the stumps of that end and appealed for the run out. This is called Mankading.

Mankading was named after Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad who dismissed Australian cricketer Bill Brown in two consecutive test matches in 1947. The act of Mankad is perfectly legal since it is stated in the laws that the non-striker should never leave his crease before the bowler releases the bowl. However, different schools of thoughts are prevalent for the same. While some find it against the spirit of the game, some others believe that a batsman should be warned once by the bowler.

One of the most commonly asked questions in cricket is whether both batsmen can be run out on the same ball. The simple answer is No. Once one batsman gets run out, the ball is immediately dead there itself. No further event can take place on that ball. A twisted version of this question is, can two wickets fall on the same delivery? The answer to this question is both yes and no. Let us understand these by two scenarios.

Scene 1: Batsman A hits the ball. There is a confusion with his partner whether to run or not. This results in Batsman B being run out. The batsman is out and the umpire signals a no ball. As a thumb rule, the ball is not legal but a run out is legal on a no ball. This means that the batsman is out on a delivery that is not counted. The next batsman walks in. He is run out the very next ball which is a fair delivery. Hence, this way if a no ball or wide accompanies a run out, followed by another run out on the next legal delivery, the batting team can lose two wickets in one single delivery.

Scene 2: Batsman hits the straight to the bowler who takes the catch. The bowler sees the batsman at the non-strike end out of his crease and dislodged the bails at the bowler’s end. So does this mean two wickets have fallen on one legal delivery? The answer is no. The first event, i.e., the time when the bowler took the catch is the only wicket considered. This is because the bowl is dead after the first event.

Running between the wickets have created both hilarious and pathetic run out scenarios in the past. It is absolutely key for the fielding side to have the needed presence of mind to counter even a hint of misunderstanding between the two batsmen on the crease.

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