ICC annual conference

Runner rule was being abused, says ICC

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 30, 2011

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Angelo Mathews and his runner Chamara Kapugedera guide Sri Lanka through the final stages, India v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Nagpur, December 18, 2009
Not to be seen again in international cricket © AFP
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The ICC has explained its decision to do away with runners in international cricket by saying there had been widespread abuse of the rule that allowed batsmen to ask for runners in the event of an injury. The runner rule has been in operation for more than a century, appearing in the MCC's Laws of Cricket as far back as 1884 and perhaps even before then, but the ICC decided to repeal it on the recommendation of its Cricket Committee in May this year.

"It's been considered by the cricket committee... and there has been a strong feeling that runners were used not in the right spirit," ICC chief Haroon Lorgat said in Hong Kong on Thursday at the conclusion of the the five-day annual conference. "It's quite a difficult one for umpires to determine whether there has been a real injury to batsmen or whether it was a tactical use of runners."

The move was also an attempt to redress disparity between batsmen and bowlers Lorgat said. "If a bowler gets injured you can't continue bowling for the rest of the day and the feeling was that it would be better to not allow the use of runners because there has been abuse in the past."

In the 2009 Champions Trophy, Andrew Strauss refused to allow his South African counterpart Graeme Smith a runner after Smith had requested one due to cramps. Strauss said cramps were a side-effect of a long innings while Smith claimed runners had been granted for that reason in the past, pointing to an inconsistency in the rule's implementation.

Among other changes decided on by the ICC at the annual conference were the use of new balls from each end in ODIs, batting and bowling Powerplays to be taken between overs 16 and 40, and bowlers being allowed to run out non-strikers backing up unfairly.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2011, 17:25 GMT)

Its time to ban ICC and give the governing of the game back to the MCC as it was for decades.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

do away with the ICC they are the same as the WICBC dictators and are not allowed Delete them

Posted by S.N.Singh on (July 2, 2011, 2:36 GMT)


Posted by itisme on (July 1, 2011, 22:37 GMT)

@donda: a batsman will get a ball on his toes ONLY if he does not know how to tackle a yorker. If he is allowed to continue playing with the help of a runner then it is very unfair to the bowler who bowled the perfect yorker. you should be puting bat to ball not your leg or foot to block he stumps.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (July 1, 2011, 20:53 GMT)

Cricket is the ONLY team sport in the ENTIRE world that does not allow full substitutes in any form. Take football for instance - if a man gets injured you can sub him off and his replacement can pass, shoot, tackle.. in fact do anything the striken man can do. If your team is losing you can haul off a defender and bring on another forward - the defender does not have to 'feign' injury. In cricket runners can only run, sub fielders can only field - they should relly be allowed to bat and bowl. The ruling made against runners is DANGEROUS medically, and potentially DEADLY in extreme conditions. If a footballer pulls his ham he does not have to 'soldier on' or walk off and force his team to 'play with ten', he gets subbed off for a fit man and allows the game to continue with 11 fit athletes against 11 fit athletes, the way it is meant to be. The ressurection of mankads is a good rule though, on more then one occasion I, as a bowler, have been tempted to beam the charging non-striker!

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 14:44 GMT)

Very good decision at last from the ICC to do away with the runners. Many players in the recent past are seen wearing bandage on their fingers (whether they carry an injury or not) which is a clear advantage for them while fielding. ICC should immediately look into this and empower the on-field umpires to order such players off the field.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 11:41 GMT)

Saeed Anwar used Shahid Afridi as a runner during his epic 194 @ Independence Cup in 1997. Afridi joined Anwar when he had barely crossed 50 ... Later Anwar went on to hit three consecutive sweep-slog sixes to Kumble in spite of 'suffering from cramps'

Honestly Anwar should thank Tendulkar (Indian Captain) for his graciousness & allowing him a runner ....

Posted by yankeecricketfan on (July 1, 2011, 11:14 GMT)

sorry typo -- should be 21st century

Posted by yankeecricketfan on (July 1, 2011, 10:50 GMT)

I totally agree with this ruling -- about time cricket moved to the 22nd century. Running between the wickets is how you score runs, if a batsmen cannot run, he should retire! Also watching on TV, which is the majority of us, it becomes so confusing when theres a runner.

Posted by saurab2 on (July 1, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

Anubhav@ i dont know how much you follow cricket. But with Sehwag, you do not require runner, as he himself hardly runs so whats the use of runner. With Sachin, he doesnt like using a runner. Remember even when he scored his 200th run, he did it himself. With Yuvraj, he is one of the fastest runner in the team so why will he rely on others.. There are different players whose requirements are different. May be when a batsman is hurt/ injured, he should be allowed back with a runner only after all the fit players in the team have batted already. However, over the period of time i think all rules should be made more consistent, not on the whims and fancies of the captains so that there can be more of GS and AS

Posted by symsun on (July 1, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

Runner should be allowed for batsman injured during the match... and not for dehydrated or cramped batsman... ICC should reconsider this decision at some point of time.

Posted by cricket_for_all on (July 1, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

I totally agree Sehwag always go out when He is fielding more than SRT.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

"bowlers being allowed to run out non-strikers backing up unfairly." - One good decision from ICC. Still remember how Peter Kirsten made a scene getting out after being warned by Kapil once and yet backing up much before Kapil was delivering.

Posted by RD270 on (July 1, 2011, 6:44 GMT)

I am not a great Tendulkar fan, however the above criticism of SRT is uncalled for. He is hardly ever placed in the in-field - possibly because the captains are worried that he will waste too much time with the bowlers!

SRT also never shies away from fielding after a long innings.

Posted by donda on (July 1, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

This is very bad decision, if a very fast bowler hit on the tow of most important batsman in other team then other team will lose that match easily.

ICC should allow a runner and that decision should be made by ICC referee , umpires

I am sure that this bad decision will hurt big time in ODI cricket.

Where as other rules are perfectly fine, two new balls and two bouncers.

ICC should also promote T2020 more, Fan like T2020 but i don't know why ICC is not like that format.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 4:30 GMT)

@Anubhav Agrawal Doubt your cricketing knowledge . Very rarely sachin has used runners. He never likes the idea of having a runner. In his 20 years career I remember only once Sachin using the runner

Posted by rajithwijepura on (July 1, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

The way things going from another 20-30 years you'll need to find another name for the game of cricket. Cricket will not be Cricket anymore.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 3:02 GMT)

Right move.. ICC must also look at substitutes being used by the fielding team.. Certain players score centuries dont take field in the second innings..

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 3:01 GMT)

Good. I remember VVS Laxman batted for almost 4 days with a runner last year in a test. That was just ridiculous.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 23:12 GMT)

Contrary to many other people, I feel that this rule was very obvious. I saw India use runners at many times to get benefits of fast running. A batsman play and run consuming some time while a runner has to just run effectively saving time in running. Plus batsmen need to get stronger. As I am an Indian and I have watched a lot of India's matches I feel that Sachin, sehwag and yuvraj's requirement for runners is almost taken for granted if they have crossed hundred. I guess only 10 % times this rule would have been legitimately used by teams around the world. If you want to have runner keep some sort of concurrent penalty like only half run would be counted etc,. I don't know , just a suggestion.

Posted by Shrescs on (June 30, 2011, 23:09 GMT)

May be, the ban on use of runners will be lifted once some of the senior players retire!? Is this a way to push them to retire soon?

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 21:41 GMT)

i think its a good decision to do away with runners, it kinda cheapens the innings for me when a batsman uses a runner, if they cant run they should have to just go for boundaries and struggle instead of getting someone else to do the running.

Posted by anmn on (June 30, 2011, 21:23 GMT)

Good decision. It robs achievement of fit people and their athletic achievement. ICC should also make it strict for field substituitons. People like Sehwag and Tendulkar don't field for long time, but get subs to do the job. They just want to concentrate on what gets them the most gain. And when on-field, they stand close to the batsman usually at slip, so that they dont have to run a lot. If cricket were to be an athletic sport, people like Tendulkar and Jayasuriya, would have retired long back. ICC must make it stricter to play t20, so that old-people will either step-up or ship-out. These old-people are affecting the quailty to sport. We dont need to enrich people like Tendulkar. We need athletic sportsmanship.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 20:59 GMT)

Then ICC should let batsman ask for drink after every 3-4 overs. And ICC should also make a rule if bowler gets injured in middle of over then he needs to finish the over, whether if it 2 balls left or 5. Finish the over. Rules should be equal to both bowlers and batsman. If the batsman is playing long innings then he will get cramps especially if its in subcontinent heat, either allowed batsman to ask for water after every over like bowler can get water by going to field at boundary line or no water for bowler until drinks break.

Posted by Hassan.Farooqi on (June 30, 2011, 20:43 GMT)

Stupid decision. While Andrew Straus was right in refusing Graeme Smith on account of cramps resulting from fatigue, runners should be allowed for injured players. Otherwise if a player is injured due to rough play by other side, it would be totally unfair. We have seen player injuring batsmen by bumping into them while running between the wicket, or throwing ball on them during fielding.

Posted by Usmanaftab24 on (June 30, 2011, 20:23 GMT)

This decision makes a lot of sense!

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (June 30, 2011, 20:17 GMT)

They should've phased the runner rule away... first eliminate from t20.. next year ODI and then test. If runner rule was being abused, send it to a psychiatrist.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 19:05 GMT)

I think this new rule regarding the runner has to be carefully examined. Not allowing the runner is not justice to real situation. If the runner can be misused, it can be identified by the board or icc. In this regards Mr. sunil gavaskar comments are worthwhile. There is a possibility of making a elite panel, which consist of legends may solve the problem. A PROPER STUDY HAS TO BE MADE AND RULE SHOULD CORRECTED AND REPHRASED..

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 18:48 GMT)

@sachin_vvsfan.. uh... a broken finger cannot be solved by a runner can it? he he...

Posted by Masking_Tape on (June 30, 2011, 18:00 GMT)

Agree with mjcoxx.

Cricketers are professional athletes. They should be more fit. Otherwise don't play.

Posted by patia on (June 30, 2011, 17:11 GMT)

LIKE PM of India ICC is under the control of BCCI.With people like Gavashkar around to allow bending of arms to suit subcontinent bowlers and he says its unfair to deny runner but at last a good decision has been made by the ICC regarding the runner.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (June 30, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

What if a batsman is genuinely injured like broken finger etc.retire hurt no option?

Posted by mjcoxx on (June 30, 2011, 15:34 GMT)

Fat, lazy, unfit batsmen have had it too good for too long. Good riddance to runners.

Posted by wolf777 on (June 30, 2011, 14:27 GMT)

I play club cricket around the western suburbs of Chicago and even in our league the runner provision usually gets abused. Batsmen get tired and ask for a runner. I have refused and argued with the umpires about it and have been accused of displaying ''non-sporting' behavior.

Posted by peace2u on (June 30, 2011, 14:24 GMT)

while watching the semi finals of IPL 2011, i told my wife it will be unfair if raina was allowed a runner, cos a player has to be fit for a 20 over match. i felt that chennai had 5 more palyers to come in, so raina should just get out of there and next palyer should come and he can bat after the last palyer falls, thats fair for both teams. ICC has done a gr8 job, CONGRATS, WELL DONE ICC

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 14:21 GMT)

I would tend to agree with ICC on this one! Batsman have abused the use of runner very often. I think, if the Bowlers once they go off for any length of time have to wait for same number of 'overs' to bowl again. Fielders are quite another matter all together. We have seen bad fielders going off and being replaced by quick fielders. In fact as many as 3 to 4 sometimes (especially by the sub-continent teams). Though, Fair play got lost when 'gamesmanship' began and we all know where it started.

Posted by CricketChat on (June 30, 2011, 14:14 GMT)

There should also be a ban on batsman tapping the pitch to smoother any rough spots made balls pitching there or due to normal wear and tear. The teams do have the option to harden the pitch surface with different types of rollers in between the innings. This is altering the state of pitch in the middle of action and goes against the bowlers ability to extract something out of it. There enough rules already to favor the batsmen.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 14:11 GMT)

The batsman can always retire hurt and come back just like bowlers do.Azar's charity to Saeed Anwar who scored 190+ is a classic example of abuse of the rule. The end result would've been different if a runner was not allowed.

I think the batsman can always come back before close of innings or at the appropriate time after getting some treatment at the fall of a wicket. I also dont agree with Gavaskar's views that bowlers at the boundary should not get drinks. The batsmen also get drinks pretending to change gloves or bat.

Posted by AsherCA on (June 30, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

Rather than get into all this, ICC should just allow squads of 12 (maybe 13), where only 11 may participate. There would be a 12th (maybe even a 13th) person to replace for injury, unfitness OR even lack of performance.... the normal substitution rule in soccer. Once a player goes off, he may not participate any further in the game. As long as both sides know what their options & their opponent's options are at the start of the game, I feel it would be fine.

Posted by Grumbly on (June 30, 2011, 13:52 GMT)

What happens if an opposing player throws the ball and accidently hits the batsmen , and he gets hurt . Will he not be given a runner to bat ? He'll have to stay in the dressing room for some stupis fielder. And what makes you say this can't be abused. Some astute Captain may do this purposely when the stakes are high ...

Posted by serious-am-i on (June 30, 2011, 13:46 GMT)

This new rule of runners is going to be a nightmare for old timers in special.

Posted by EVH316 on (June 30, 2011, 13:39 GMT)

@faakir, you`ve missed Strauss`s point - he felt that Smith was effectively unfit and that was why he required a runner. Euphemistically, he called it a "conditioning issue" ie. cramp is not a natural by-product of a long innings if the batsman is fit (which I guess is how Cook gets through each innings without recourse to a runner, and Ranatunga didn`t).

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (June 30, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

What about bringing back "SuperSub" with few modifications ??? In my opnion all 15 players nomiinated, should be able to bat / bowl or field. However, not more than 11 bastman can bat at a time. Likewise only 11 bowlers can bowl and 11 fielders can remain in the field at a time. However, substitution should not be provided to a injured batsman. He can go back, get treated for the injury and come back provided only eleven out of the 15 players bat. This would generate more interest in the game, since a team (both bowling or batting) can come back even from hopeless situations. For a beginning the above can be trialled in IPL..... ANY TAKERS ????

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

English and Australian are in-law brothers. They can do anything except maintaining the sportsmanship. I don't think there are any instances where the other cricketing nations don't accept the appeal for a runner from the opposition. And if ICC wants to abolish the runner rule, they should also abolish the substitute fielder rule. Why ICC is giving extra fields to the fielding side? Do anyone has the answer?

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 12:37 GMT)

If batsmen are abusing the runners rule, what about bowlers. Most of the fast bowlers after finishing their quota goes inside and substitute comes to the field even though the bowlers are not injured. So where is the parity between ball & bat? Also applying same logic if a fielder gets injiured no substitute should be allowed. For that matter most of the batsmen who stayed long at the crease during batting conveniently take rest and the substitute comes to field on their behalf. More than runners for injured batsman this practice should be taken care. Because runner comes in only for an injured batsman whereas substitute comes in for exhausted and tired batsman.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

I think the abolition is ridiculous and the explanation for promoting this law is even more ridiculous. If, you as a batsman, are not allowed runners, then you as a fielding side should also not be allowed to replace an injured fielder and instead field with 10 people. Secondly, a lot of bowlers come and go off the field after their spells and replaced by a SUBSTITUTE fielder. The bowling side must field with 10 people if any fielder wants a break for whatever reasons (toilet, water, injury whatever). This would be the fair way and bring equality to both batting and fielding side at all times.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

Some good rules to address the imbalance between bat and ball. Show pony batsmen have had it too easy for too long.

Posted by MightyHammer on (June 30, 2011, 12:21 GMT)

Surely the replacement player rule that is being abused constantly is when a fielder can wander off whenever he feels like it and get a replacement. Bowlers use this before a spell to help them freshen up and then again after a spell to recover. Teams also use this to remove poor fielders and replace them them with people who can't make the team on batting or bowling merit but are better in the field.

When a batsmen has a runner they are far more likely to end up being run out so I don't see how they benefit from this. Fielding sides regularly benefit from replacement players so I think the ICC have got this 100% back to front.

Posted by Yevghenny on (June 30, 2011, 12:11 GMT)

perhaps they can offer an alternative where you have a substitute batsman, meaning that the injured batsman is subbed and no longer participates in the game.

Posted by dsig3 on (June 30, 2011, 12:07 GMT)

Its a step in the right direction. People who are whinging about this need to have a good look in the mirror.

Posted by faakir on (June 30, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

well i think icc has been to some extent right in doing so. Remember during the series between australia and england this early year, Jonathan Trott scored a century and asked for a runner. But when the australian innings resumed he took an acrobatic catch at short fine leg and went on to bowl a few overs of medium pace too.... I did feel at that stage that the rule was abused.... and I have seen the same Jonathan trott not once but atleast thrice blocking the fielder/bowler's throw by running on the wicket(which in itself is an offence) to avoid being run out...... Only because of such players others are suffering...... what baffles me is the case that Andrew strauss feels Smith didn't need a runner cause he had played a long innings.... hats off to your sportsman spirit Mr. Strauss........

Posted by jackiethepen on (June 30, 2011, 11:55 GMT)

Not quite sure how using a runner can give you a tactical advantage. They usually cause chaos and are quite fun to watch as the runner gets mixed up with the batsmen. As for cramp it is a side effect of a long innings. Bowlers are rested so I don't see why they should be treated equally. Batsmen frequently get cramp in countries with very high humidity in very hot temperatures. Taking in water once a hour or so may not be enough. Doctors warn of the dangers of dehydration. Can't see the point of them not having a runner for cramp. And cramp is pretty obvious isn't it? Won't it mean batsmen going off hurt and then returning once the cramp has been treated? Colly went off for his migraine in an ODI against Pakistan and then returned after he had been treated when the next wicket fell. Couldn't that be used tactically?

Posted by Yevghenny on (June 30, 2011, 11:46 GMT)

I remember the smith runner refusal well. He didn't even ask Strauss if it was OK, just called for a runner. He had cramp because the rest of his team had failed and he was the only one doing any running. He should have realised his fatigue was down to the irresponsibility of his own players.

I think batsmen get such an easy time of it compared to bowlers with regards to injuries. I've always thought the runner system was abused, like sub fielders. Marathon runners can't get someone to run the last 5 miles for them.

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