NEW DELHI: In cricket, especially in the shortest format of the game, every run is important, so is every dot ball. Sometimes a single run could be the difference between winning and losing, triumph and defeat.
Bowlers practice for hours just to get their lines and lengths right, but modern batters are almost always on the move – always looking to create space to play innovative shots to beat the fielders. Shuffling across the stumps and moving laterally across the crease to disturb the concentration and momentum of the bowler in search of quick runs, has become extremely commonplace in modern day limited overs cricket, especially in T20s.
Trying to counter this and in anticipation of sudden movement by the batters, bowlers try to bowl different lines and length. They are successful sometimes and sometimes they err and the ball goes for a wide with the opposition team getting an extra run and with the bowler having to re-bowl the delivery.
A wide yorker for example is a variation that bowlers these days have developed to try and stop the batters from trying to hit every possible delivery for a boundary.
Read more about wide yorkers here:
Often these wide yorkers are just too wide or the umpires feel that despite the batter having shuffled too much towards his or her off stump before the delivery was bowled, the delivery could be judged as a wide if it goes over the tramline markers.
So what exactly is a wide delivery?
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) laws state the following:
Law 22.11: If the bowler bowls a ball, not being a No ball, the umpire shall adjudge it a Wide if, according to the definition in 22.1.2, the ball passes wide of where the striker is standing and which also would have passed wide of the striker standing in a normal guard position.
Law 22.1.2 states: The ball will be considered as passing wide of the striker unless it is sufficiently within reach for him/her to be able to hit it with the bat by means of a normal cricket stroke.
Law 22.4.1 further states: The umpire shall not adjudge a delivery as being a Wide, if the striker, by moving, either causes the ball to pass wide of him/her, as defined in 22.1.2 or brings the ball sufficiently within reach to be able to hit it by means of a normal cricket stroke.
THE STOINIS CONTROVERSY
In the recent IPL match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Lucknow Super Giants in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday, Marcus Stoinis fell to his Australia teammate Josh Hazlewood in the penultimate over after he shuffled way too much outside his off stump and was almost on the tramline. He got a thick inside edge onto his stumps and was dismissed for 24, at a time when LSG needed 34 runs off 11 balls. Stonis’s movement was an act that was prompted by the previous Hazlewood delivery that landed almost outside the pitch.
What happened in that delivery was that Stoinis shuffled across his off stump early, which forced Hazlewood to go wider and it was beyond the tramline comfortably. But the umpire felt that it was a hittable delivery and deemed it legal and Stoinis was left fuming. The Aussie of course was even angrier after he was dismissed off the next ball.
RCB went on to win the match by 18 runs.
Was this a blunder by the umpire or was Stonis in a position where he could have struck the ball? Former Indian opener and captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth thought it was a huge gaffe.
What is happening with the umpiring @IPL , it’s quite pathetic and small bad decisions lead to big outcomes! Wake u… https://t.co/SrpVTO4oXS— Kris Srikkanth (@KrisSrikkanth) 1650391012000
Stoinis was batting well on 24 and who knows had the big hitter stayed at the crease, he could have potentially taken LSG to victory.
Come October this year and the new MCC rules will kick in and one of them talks about how umpires will have to tweak their reading and subsequent judging of wide deliveries.
THE NEW MCC RULES FOR WIDE DELIVERIES – APPLICABLE FROM OCTOBER 1, 2022
As part of nine sweeping changes to the rules, the custodians of cricket laws, the MCC, as part of its amendments to its 2022 code announced the following as far as umpires judging wide deliveries is concerned:
The rule: (As per MCC):
Law 22.1 – Judging a Wide: In the modern game, batters are, more than ever, moving laterally around the crease before the ball is bowled.
It was felt unfair that a delivery might be called ‘Wide’ if it passes where the batter had stood as the bowler entered his/her delivery stride. Therefore, Law 22.1 has been amended so that a Wide will apply to where the batter is standing, where the striker has stood at any point since the bowler began their run up, and which would also have passed wide of the striker in a normal batting position.
What it means: To score quick runs, batsmen, especially in the shorter formats, regularly change their positions and stance to disturb the rhythm of the bowler. Often batsmen are seen shifting sideways in their crease quite a bit just before a ball is bowled. Earlier despite the sudden change in stance or position where the batter was, wide deliveries were judged on the basis of where the batter ended up. Now, umpires will take into account where the batter is standing vis-à-vis where the batter has stood in his or her crease at any point after the bowler began his or her run-up. It will be interesting to see if this also changes the way umpires call wides when batters attempt reverse scoops, reverse sweeps, reverse pulls etc by changing their stance at the last minute.