England v NZ, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Pallekele September 29, 2012

Dead ball or no-ball?

Steven Finn's stump-kicking is a habit he needs to kick. A change to the Laws might help
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Apart from his irritating tendency to collide with the stumps in his delivery stride, Steven Finn had a good day. He flogged life from a decent batting surface and his three cheap wickets provided a basis for an England victory that has kept alive their hopes of a semi-final place. His potent pace bowling will encourage England's hopes that beating Sri Lanka in their final match is not beyond them.

But while Finn has a right to revel in his good day, his idiosyncrasy needs to be addressed before it causes an almighty row. The issue that first arose in the Headingley Test against South Africa shows no signs of abating. Instead of kicking the stumps, Finn needs to kick the habit. And, whether or not he kicks the habit, the Law needs to be changed.

Finn's tendency was regarded seriously enough to be brought up at the pre-tournament briefing for coaches and captains during which they were told that any bowler breaking the stumps would first receive a warning and on every further occasion the delivery would be ruled as a dead ball. As it happened the umpires forgot about the warning on this occasion.

Finn collided with the stumps in each of his last three overs. As a dead ball was ruled, New Zealand missed out on a leg-side wide and then a single; on the final occasion, James Franklin drilled the ball through mid-off for four only for the boundary to be removed from the records. To add injury to insult, Finn struck him in the groin with his follow-up delivery. Considering how cricketers find nothing funnier, "kicking the stumps over" had every chance of becoming a euphemism.

But Finn's collisions are not funny, they are serious. Imagine what the outcome would be if Franklin had struck that boundary from the last ball of the match, thought he had won the game for New Zealand, only for dead ball to be ruled, the runs to be scrubbed and Finn to send the batsman's stumps flying with the next delivery.

If batsmen stumble into the stumps in the process of playing a shot, they are given out hit wicket. For a bowler to suffer a no-ball is a far lesser punishment

The solution is staring everybody in the face. It should not be a dead ball, it should be a no-ball. The batsman gets the benefit of the runs accrued and an extra ball as well. If batsmen stumble into the stumps in the process of playing a shot, they are given out hit wicket. For a bowler to suffer a no-ball is a far lesser punishment.

Stuart Broad, England's Twenty20 captain, said: "The best solution to it is for Finny to stop doing it. Today New Zealand were unlucky but it might cost us an important wicket at this stage. But it is also important in a world tournament not to focus so much on that because he is in a nice rhythm and it would be dangerous to make him worry too much about that."

Ross Taylor, New Zealand's captain, was quick to praise Finn's display, but that praise was tempered by his belief that the ICC approach is misguided. He wants cricket to introduce a version of football's advantage law - allow the game to progress as normal unless a batsman is dismissed, in which case dead ball should be called retrospectively.

"For Finn to get two wickets up front put us on the back foot - when the ball was new was probably the easiest time to score," he said. "But I disagree with the ICC rule when he breaks the stumps. It is a rule for one person in particular. Unless a batsman gets out you should just carry on."

Taylor even suggested it cost New Zealand a wicket because Brendon McCullum was so angry with the dead-ball ruling that he got out. If he did, he was unprofessional, but it is a new one to add to the list of batsmen's excuses.

All this should not detract from Finn's excellent display. He has hunted early wickets with aggression throughout the tournament and this time he was quickly rewarded, trapping Martin Guptill lbw with his third ball, fast and full. In his second over, when he reared one past Rob Nicol's defences and over the stumps, there was enough venom in the delivery for it to fly through Craig Kieswetter's gloves and strike him on the nose. McCullum, reportedly full of grievances and seeking to respond in kind, fell in the same over, slicing to third man as he tried to carve Finn over cover.

Broad, a bowling captain with a refreshingly adventurous approach, gave him a third over with the new ball in the hope that he could make further inroads, but Kane Williamson and Nicol both collected boundaries. Instead, his final wicket came in the 17th over, the crucial wicket of Taylor, holing out at deep midwicket.

Danny Briggs, who approaches the crease with the rhythmic grace of a gymnast, is the sort of bowler you imagine would never collide with the stumps. Instead, in his first appearance in the tournament, he collided with Franklin who took 16 from his last over to besmirch his figures, 1 for 36, by the end.

Sunday would have been Briggs' wedding day were it not for his appearance at the World Twenty20. Instead, he joined a reshaped England attack, part of a package that exchanged Tim Bresnan and himself for Samit Patel and Jade Dernbach. His left-arm slows have been employed for the first over twice this month, first against South Africa in a T20I at Edgbaston and now here, the first time a spinner has bowled the first over of the match in any form of cricket for England since Douglas Carr, a legbreak bowler, in 1909.

The story of Carr's only Test is quite remarkable. His experimentation with the googly won him an England call up against Australia at The Oval, his new-fangled trick believed to be the route to victory. He took three wickets in no time but by the time he finished with seven wickets in the match he had conceded 282 runs.

Briggs, a conventional slow left-armer, will be needed at Premadasa if England reach the last four and will find the longer boundaries more to his liking. He is a phlegmatic customer and during his spell spoke only once. Instead of his wedding vows, he exclaimed to himself when Franklin's return drive spat through his hands to the boundary. Nobody was quite sure what he said but it was probably for the best that it was out of hearing of the vicar.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 5udh33r on October 2, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    He should make to pay umpires some extra money from his fees for making them doing extra work.

  • on October 1, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    T20 -- It is not Cricket is an old phrase to describe if something is not fair but very seldom it is used now. How could you use it after this inauguration of this money spinning game which attracts crowd. I am in favour of calling that a no ball as it is not a fair delivery and a free hit should be given.

  • brittop on October 1, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @JG2704: Yes I was probably exaggerating for effect. I actually don't believe that the bowler hitting the stumps with his hand is in the least off putting to the batsman (as evidenced by the fact that they get hit for runs far more often than they get anyone out). It's been happening for years and no-one has suggested it needs to be a dead ball or a no ball before now.

  • on October 1, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    no ball, but not one resulting in a free hit, like a back foot no ball

  • AdrianVanDenStael on October 1, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    Disagree with one sentence of this. The sentence reading: "All this should not detract from Finn's excellent display".

  • bumsonseats on October 1, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    during Shaun Pollocks early career he went thru a phase were he was knocking the timbers, as he got in as close so he could for LBW, he seemed to correct it, so i hope Finn does the same. the saffers at the time did not think it was a problem unlike now. i dont think we need to do as some are saying by making a rule just for this.

  • DustyBin on October 1, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    No David Hopps (& others), the answer is even simpler, when any bowler hits the non striker's stumps, it's not a dead ball, it's not a no ball, it's just a ball, many times it will go for runs, just occasionally it will get someone out, & it should stand. Even if it were true (which it isn't) that the click of the bail can distract a batsman watching the ball intently, note : batsmen are lauded for "putting the bowler off" by dancing round in their crease. The idea that we should at all costs protect sweet little batsmen-hell we even say "it's s good pitch" when we mean "a pitch that's easy to bat on"-is laughable.

  • PeerieTrow on October 1, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    I know what you mean Mad_H, and I'm not trying to excuse SF. As Geoffrey might say, "get it sorted, young man." I do think that a major part of the problem is the amount of media attention this has received, and the potential for batsmen to be considering the possibility of it happening every ball; that's the distraction [now] to my mind. I suggest that it would be better for the game for SF to sort out recalcitrant knee at this stage of his career, than for, dare I say, a knee jerk reaction on the part of the powers-that-be to change the rules to accommodate it. Almost as distracting as expecting Warne to get your wicket every delivery you faced.

  • Mad_Hamish on October 1, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Mycro3A, if you actually look at footage of when Finn is hitting the stumps it's happening when the ball is very close to the wickets. It seems likely to be as distracting as movement near the sightscreen

  • on September 30, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    No ball, simple as that. The point was made that it can cost the bowling team a wicket, but so does a front foot no-ball, wide or other bowlers mistake. The batting team should not be penalized for a mistake (i.e. runs/boundary) by the bowler

  • 5udh33r on October 2, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    He should make to pay umpires some extra money from his fees for making them doing extra work.

  • on October 1, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    T20 -- It is not Cricket is an old phrase to describe if something is not fair but very seldom it is used now. How could you use it after this inauguration of this money spinning game which attracts crowd. I am in favour of calling that a no ball as it is not a fair delivery and a free hit should be given.

  • brittop on October 1, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @JG2704: Yes I was probably exaggerating for effect. I actually don't believe that the bowler hitting the stumps with his hand is in the least off putting to the batsman (as evidenced by the fact that they get hit for runs far more often than they get anyone out). It's been happening for years and no-one has suggested it needs to be a dead ball or a no ball before now.

  • on October 1, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    no ball, but not one resulting in a free hit, like a back foot no ball

  • AdrianVanDenStael on October 1, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    Disagree with one sentence of this. The sentence reading: "All this should not detract from Finn's excellent display".

  • bumsonseats on October 1, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    during Shaun Pollocks early career he went thru a phase were he was knocking the timbers, as he got in as close so he could for LBW, he seemed to correct it, so i hope Finn does the same. the saffers at the time did not think it was a problem unlike now. i dont think we need to do as some are saying by making a rule just for this.

  • DustyBin on October 1, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    No David Hopps (& others), the answer is even simpler, when any bowler hits the non striker's stumps, it's not a dead ball, it's not a no ball, it's just a ball, many times it will go for runs, just occasionally it will get someone out, & it should stand. Even if it were true (which it isn't) that the click of the bail can distract a batsman watching the ball intently, note : batsmen are lauded for "putting the bowler off" by dancing round in their crease. The idea that we should at all costs protect sweet little batsmen-hell we even say "it's s good pitch" when we mean "a pitch that's easy to bat on"-is laughable.

  • PeerieTrow on October 1, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    I know what you mean Mad_H, and I'm not trying to excuse SF. As Geoffrey might say, "get it sorted, young man." I do think that a major part of the problem is the amount of media attention this has received, and the potential for batsmen to be considering the possibility of it happening every ball; that's the distraction [now] to my mind. I suggest that it would be better for the game for SF to sort out recalcitrant knee at this stage of his career, than for, dare I say, a knee jerk reaction on the part of the powers-that-be to change the rules to accommodate it. Almost as distracting as expecting Warne to get your wicket every delivery you faced.

  • Mad_Hamish on October 1, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Mycro3A, if you actually look at footage of when Finn is hitting the stumps it's happening when the ball is very close to the wickets. It seems likely to be as distracting as movement near the sightscreen

  • on September 30, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    No ball, simple as that. The point was made that it can cost the bowling team a wicket, but so does a front foot no-ball, wide or other bowlers mistake. The batting team should not be penalized for a mistake (i.e. runs/boundary) by the bowler

  • PeerieTrow on September 30, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    At the point of delivery the batsman's total focus should be on the ball in the bowler's hand. He or she then has, with the fastest of bowlers, of the order of a tenth of a second to react. The bowler at this point is an undignified, thrashing mess of legs and arms, on which the batsman should not be focussed. Any batsman who notices the bails being dislodged amidst the undignified thrashing around of a typical fast bowler is not watching the ball. It's not a no ball, it's not deliberate distraction of the batsman, but it could, however, be argued to be gamesmanship on the part of the batsman to complain. If a batsman has time to be distracted, he or she has time to pull out of the shot, at which point in time the standing umpire is wholly justified in calling a dead ball. In the final analysis, the penalty is against the fielding side even if a dead ball has not been called; has any of you actually tried to remove a stump from the ground with the hand holding the ball?

  • on September 30, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    If it's distracting then, pending any change in the laws, it should be called dead ball. If it's not distracting then the batsmen can tell the umpire it isn't distracting and the umpires can then ignore it like they used to. Longer term make it a no ball. What you can't do is this advantage idea - how can it be right to rule on the legality of a delivery based solely on the capability of the batsman to play it?

  • on September 30, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    No ball and if he repeats it twice in his spell he should be removed esp Finn

  • Meety on September 30, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    @landl47 on (September 30 2012, 13:33 PM GMT) - I haven't faced a bloke bowling at over 140kph, so I can't say for sure whether it would be a distraction, but to me, if you picture a bowler at his release point, the hand is only a couple of feet above the plain of the top of the stumps. So a bail flying off around the time of release (IMO), (non-expert), would mean it is plausible to be distracting. At the very least, I would say they would be aware of it. I would not have the first instance of this being declared a no-ball. @jrtrigg2000 on (September 29 2012, 16:22 PM GMT) - yes, but Alderman wasn't hitting the stumps. I do believe Smith was keen to mess with Finn's head, but was well within the rules.

  • spanishwestindian on September 30, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    Point taken about the no ball, free hit, etc. Another possibility is: if the batsman protests, then call dead ball. If he doesn't, then carry on as normal. The solution to the problem of if a boundary is scored or if a wicket has fallen is then obvious.

  • Ganda-Phillander on September 30, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    The opposing side should be given their preference. Simple as that...Why even have this discussion when we all know Finn is at fault...rather than going round this problem...ICC should make a ruling that the opposing batman has every right to claim a 6(if hit) or any other stroke(even if he gets out) to declare it as a dead ball if Finn keeps doing this...

  • on September 30, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    No ball simple. The bowler has no reason to break the stumps in delivery stride. The retrospective dead ball is OK but open to issues. As with the batsman not being able to break the stumps neither should the bowler. Finn says he is "working on it"' it's simple man, come wider.

  • JG2704 on September 30, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    @brittop on (September 30 2012, 12:54 PM GMT) Firstly I'd say the distraction (in Finn knocking the stumps over) would be audible rather than visual. Re fielders walking in as the bowler is running in - well I can't see how that would distract a batsman and if it does then the batsman is not concentrating on the important thing which is the bowler. Re the bowler falling over in his follow through - If it's a pace bowler then the shot will have been fully played before the bowler goes over anyway. I don't remember too many instances where a spin bowler has fallen over after bowling a delivery. PS re the noise , the crowd chanting is surely more of a constant background noise.

  • UK_Chap on September 30, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    JG2704 : There should be nothing wishy washy about this, letting the umpires decide based on certain match conditions or situations would be a disaster. This should simply be NO BALL every time.

  • FRRR on September 30, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    It should be regarded as a No Ball ,,,, It is getting ridiculous now.

  • 5udh33r on September 30, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    That should be NO-BALL with FREE HIT!!

  • brittop on September 30, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    If the noise is a distraction, what about the crowd chanting as a bowler comes in to bowl? These guys aren't golfers!

  • landl47 on September 30, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    As long as it is just a dead ball, Finn will keep doing it. It should be a no-ball. This from an England supporter! @Meety: while I agree entirely with what you say about the batsman having time to pull away, the same logic applies to the batsman being distracted. If the batsman is looking at the bails falling off instead of at Finn's hand at the moment of delivery, he's going to get cleaned up. Instead, Franklin hit a four. Clearly, he didn't even notice the bails coming off. That doesn't mean the issue goes away (see my comment above), but the 'distraction' issue is overplayed, at least in the Finn situation. I've watched Finn do this for several months and I haven't seen a single instance where the batsman has appeared to notice the bails coming off. However, the rule must apply equally to all bowlers and all situations and if Finn uprooted a stump or a slow bowler knocked the bails off, it would be a distraction. It has to be a no-ball.

  • brittop on September 30, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Is the bowler falling over after he delivers also a distraction to the batsman? Perhaps that should be a no ball too. What about fielders walking in as the bowler bowls? Mid off and mid on are especially in the batsman's eye line.

  • stormy16 on September 30, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    The benefit of the doubt must go to the batsman as always and the delivery must be a no ball. The batter cannot get out on the assumption he was distracted by the bails but if the batter hits a boundary he must be get the runs. Calling it a dead ball makes no sense at all.

  • DesPlatt on September 30, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    Agree completely with Meety below

  • JG2704 on September 30, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    @nickbell47 on (September 30 2012, 10:06 AM GMT) I do think re your example of the bails being blown off by the wind - unless a batsman pulls away from the ball/shot etc the delivery should stand. There are 2 differences in that scenario - 1 - The bowler can't be blamed for such an occurrence so it is not a disadvantage to the batsman because of anything the bowler has done 2 - I'd say the main part of Finn hitting the stumps on his run up which would put the batsman off would be the noise factor which would not be so significant - if at all significant - when the bails are blown off on a windy day

  • JG2704 on September 30, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    @skilebow on (September 30 2012, 09:05 AM GMT) Re "It could be a disadvantage to Finn too" - Maybe , maybe not - but if it is then Finn is the only person who can be blamed for hitting the stumps. Re the batsman , well he has no control over Finn hitting the stumps. I agree about changing a rule halfway through a tournament. It's strange because I don't ever recall a bowler having such a problem re this. Maybe someone can give me an example of another bowler who has had such issues

  • njr1330 on September 30, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    I think Ross Taylor's idea is the best. Dead ball only if the batsman is out from it... otherwise, it's just an ordinary delivery.

  • Meety on September 30, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    @bobmartin on (September 30 2012, 06:40 AM GMT) - gee mate, the comment "...allowing the batsman to pull away if he is distracted.. If the batsman doesn't, then clearly he is not distracted." That sort of comment suggests to me you've never played the game before or at least ever had a clue about batting. When Finn hits the stumps with his leg, he is bowling around 140kph, there is NO TIME to pull out of the shot. It is not like if someone is jumping around by the sidescreen when the bowler is metres from the stumps. The distraction is more about picking up the line with the possiblity of a bail flying into the line of sight - against a medium pacer (or faster), there is ZERO chance to pull out. The rule should be advantage batsmen, a boundary/run(s) stand, a wicket is dead ball. Repeat offences in an innings = no ball.

  • nickbell47 on September 30, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    At first glace this looks like yet another example of the man's increasing ability to make decisions without considering consequences - of course Ross Taylor is right, just let the batting side "play advantage". HOWEVER, given certain countries' unwillingness to allow technology to be used for decisions, what is an umpire to do on a windy day when bails have blown off without Finn's help? The only sensible choice at present must be that the ICC change the rules to make stumps broken during the bowlers delivery stride a no-ball - Finn will quickly fix his action, just as the world's best ever bowler did. I'm Australian, for those wondering.

  • Buggsy on September 30, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    @Pateldaku, agree completely. ICC are you listening?

  • on September 30, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Could of costed NZ maybe like 10 runs, not saying that it woulda won them the game, but who knows? Bit unfair for batsmen to get penalised for bowlers mistake

  • Stark62 on September 30, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    It's a no-ball, SIMPLE AS THAT!!

    Like Nasser said yesterday, "What wrong have the batsmen done".

  • skilebow on September 30, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    You have also got to remember that no one knows how much clipping the stumps is distracting Finn. Maybe if it become a no ball and he is forced to cut it out of his game he may be even more difficult to face! I surprised everyone is looking at this from the batsmen's point of view. It could be a disadvantage to Finn too.

  • skilebow on September 30, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    I think deciding its a no ball mid-way through a tournament would be a mistake and an example of cricket's authorities once again rushing without thinning to fix a problem and i disagree with the comparison with a batsman hitting his wickets...he doesn't run up to them before he hits the ball does he. However, I like the idea of playing an advantage and then deciding what is of most benefit to the batsmen

  • Ozcricketwriter on September 30, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Needs to be a no ball. End of story.

  • JG2704 on September 30, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    I actually have to agree with most folk that I think the law should be changed for this to become a no ball or maybe Finn is allowed one before no balls are started to be called. As it stands I wonder if the umpire could use his discretion and judge weather to call it a dead ball or not based on the outcome - even consulting with the batsmen? Obviously if the ball is a dot or takes a wicket in this format then the batsman will want it a dead ball but if the batsman creams it for a boundary he will want it to stay. I wonder if anyone knows if the umpire could have the flexibility to do this until/if the laws are changed. It seems strange that Finn has only developed this habbit this year , but it seems the only way he will be punished - as it stands - is if he takes a wicket or in shorter formats it's a dot and the extra ball goes for a boundary

  • yorkslanka on September 30, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    agree with others on here, should be a no ball with a free hit..why should the batting team be penalised when its the bwlers fault...NZ were robbed of prob ten runs in their match due to this and it could have changed the result...

  • brittop on September 30, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    @SurlyCynic: Have to disagree - hitting it for 4 does prove it was no distraction. Bowlers have been doing this throughout the history of the game (if not as frequently as Finn) and no-one has thought there needed to be a rule to "protect" batsmen from it, so why now? SA's little ruse to try and mess with Finn's head is getting out of hand.

  • khurramsch on September 30, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    should be a no ball. reasons; 1- if a bowler goes wide its a no ball & bowlers does that to get some angle so here its hould also be no ball. and its not a matter of 1 instance. with fin it migh be many in 1 game. And all people who say that if on out its dead why not on runs but point is so far records shows finn has suffered only once with grame smith wicket, but mostly its other team who suffered like NZ suffered 8 runs.& finn doing such mistake again & again got away with bowling figures which should have 8 more runs. ross taylors sugestion of saying dead only when out is not right. shoukld be uniform.

  • on September 30, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    He is an excellent bowler. What do you expect with his experience playing at West Herts Cricket Club. The bowling coach should and must help him to get over this problem. If you hit the wicket during your bowling sequence it is a no ball and should be called a no ball. He is an intelligent young man and he will practice enough to get over the problem. England should do their part by showing confidence in him and not destroy him by bringing him in and out of the team. They are good at that.

  • bobmartin on September 30, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    The Laws already cover this by allowing the batsman to pull away if he is distracted.. If the batsman doesn't, then clearly he is not distracted. Taking the accidental breaking of the stumps a step further, what if a batsman hits a straight drive and it breaks the stumps without intervention of another player, should that be called dead/no ball as well.. after all, it incommodes the fielding side by denying them the chance of a direct hit run-out. Swings and roundabouts.

  • 158notout on September 30, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Srinivas Pachari - in what way does Sreesanth, above all other pace bowlers in world cricket deserve to be mentioned with Steyn, Philander and Finn? Funny.

  • mumerashfaq on September 30, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    Finn's collission with the stumps is costing other teams big time, when Franklin somehow managed to hit a four (when NZ were struggling), turned out to be a No Ball. Surely ICC needs to review the Rule of bowler colliding the stumps regarding Dead ball big time because it doesnot cost as much to the bowler as it does to the batting teams. We have seen it in Pak vs Eng, SA vs Eng and now in World cup matches too, that fours are averted and very next ball that is counted turns out to be a dot ball.

  • jonesy2 on September 30, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    frog in a blender finn is an absolute joke. england continue to give international cricket a bad name and embarrass themselves and the sport

  • MadhavY on September 30, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    Plain simple rule - No ball , argument about franklin hitting a four even if it's a distraction is nonsense, batsmen sometimes hits sixes of no balls. Call it as a no ball, may be no free hit but batsman should be awarded the runs he scored .

  • rohanbala on September 30, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    Steve Finn does not seem to have learnt his basics right. He has no business to kick the stumps and the umpires need to be more strict in dealing with such acts. It is not the first time or second time he has done so. ICC should immediately rule such deliveries as no ball and add one penalty run to the batting team. Danny Morrison was one bowler who came very close to the stumps (often brushing his clothing with that of the umpire), but there was no occasion when he kicked the stumps.

  • phoenixsteve on September 30, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    @anton124... If Finn hits the stumps by a whisker the bails probably won't come off so there's no harm done! I think the umpires are applying the PRESENT laws correctly by calling 'dead ball'. However I believe the rules need a change? Namely that if the bowler knocks off the bails in delivery, then the batsman shouldn't immune from dismissal (unless r/o) & it effectively becomes a free hit and any runs scored do actually count. This would seem fair and a good way of eradicating the problem which nobody else seems to suffer with? It would however be unfair to change the laws of cricket mid tournament or mid year. All players should be given say 12 months notice which would allow the coaches to iron out technical flaws causing the problem? Speaking of laws.... they should be changed to make UDRS compulsory and hence have a level playing field. If any country won't accept these new laws they should not participate in International cricket and nobody should play them? COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • anton1234 on September 29, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    He can get as close to the stumps as he likes as long as he doesn't hit them. If he hits them then its got to be a no ball. There are numerous things to consider. He puts the batsman off when he hits the stumps, wastes everybody's time because the ball has to be bowled again. Sorry, if you overstep the crease when bowling even by whisker its a no ball, the same has to apply here. If he hits the stumps even by a whisker, it has to be a no ball.

  • Kapil_Choudhary on September 29, 2012, 22:50 GMT

    Completely agreed - it should be no ball and the LAW needs to change ASAP

  • SurlyCynic on September 29, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    jrtrigg2000: Just because a four is sometimes hit does not prove that there is no distraction for the batsman, it seems likely that a bowler regularly shattering the stumps in delivery is a distraction. If there's a 1% extra chance that the shot will go wrong and the batsman will get out then why should they put up with this just because Finn can't bowl properly? Yes it has happened before, but only occasionally not multiple times per innings which is clearly different.

  • Pateldaku on September 29, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Do not see what all the fuss is about.

    As an Umpire myself I would apply Law 42.4. Distraction of the Batsman.

    I would call it Dead Ball on the first occasion. Warn the bowler, advise the Captain and also the batsman. If any runs are scored of that then allow them and count delivery. If not or wicket taken then do not count it as one for the over. Any further occasions and award 5 penalty runs plus any runs scored. If wicket taken or no runs scored then not count the ball as one for the over.

  • on September 29, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    Steve Finn is very very lucky to have this rule in his favour. He is using the crease (obviously his pace is terrific, for which I have complete respect for) to his advantage. Start calling it a no-ball (on the basis that if a bowler steps on the side crease it is a no-ball) and I bet my bottom dollar he will not manage this good figures. McCullum has every right to be annoyed by this. Even though his back foot hits the stumps, tell me which bowler comes this close to the stumps when delivering?? If Steyn/Sreesant/Philander follow him, eveyone will be more deadlier than Finn cause their outswingers will hit the top of offstump rather than outside the off stump.

  • cbaunni on September 29, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    Its a waste of time for every body involved. Calling it a no-will make the game more interesting I think. Plus one cant say with conviction that its not distracting the batsmen. I have a feeling that they are doing it with that purpose in mind.

  • jd21 on September 29, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    'The solution is staring everybody in the face. It should not be a dead ball, it should be a no-ball. The batsman gets the benefit of the runs accrued and an extra ball as well.' Seems both just and sensible to me.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 29, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Finn is going to hold the record as the bowler hitting the most stumps by the end of his cricket career. Most of those will be at the non-strikers end though as he bowls, however...

  • blunderbus on September 29, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Simple - these are no-balls. If you deliver from outside the return crease, that's a no-ball, if you smack the stumps (with hand or foot or knee) you're transgressing on the other side, that's the obvious limit.

  • vipravara on September 29, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    When the entire fault is with the bowler (Finn-kicking the stumps while bowling) which is being found repeatedly too, it should be taken more seriously. The batting side need not be put to any disadvantageous position because of it. It should be called a no-ball outright. Calling it a dead ball, where the bowler is getting away without any penalty is nothing but encouraging the most irritating practice of bowling, where the said bowler is pampered NOT to rectify it.

  • on September 29, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    I think it should have called a no ball along with a free hit, it cost Franklyn and New Zealand a potential 4

  • jrtrigg2000 on September 29, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    I agree with Stuart. Moreover, aren't bowlers always told to bowl wicket to wicket? No-one complained when Terry Alderman bowled to Gooch from more or less in front of the stumps.

  • jrtrigg2000 on September 29, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Why should it be either? The problem is that Smith claimed that it was a batting distraction; the fact that in that same Test and this game, fours were hit demonstrates that it clearly is not a distraction to the batsman. If anything, it would be a distraction for the bowler. This sort of thing has happened countless times in cricket history with no problems until now. I agree with Jonathan Agnew's comments on TMS - it was mind games to rile Finn, and the cricketing authorities have risen to the bait.

  • on September 29, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    The question is, what is the problem with him hitting the stumps? The argument from South Africa was that it was a distraction to the batsman, and so a dead ball. In most cases of a distraction the batsman pulls away, presumably there's not the time to do that in this case? There have been several occasions when Finn has hit the stumps and been hit for 4, was the batsman really distracted then? Apart from the distraction, where is the problem? It is presumably painful for him, and could potentially cost England a run out as the stumps are already broken.

  • Badgerofdoom on September 29, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    Yeah I'm an England fan and I think it should be called no-ball, just stop hitting the stumps!

  • HawK89 on September 29, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    Dead-ball for Finn's case should of been looked at as a no-ball, without the free-hit. Hitting the stumps on his way in shouldn't allow him to get a wicket, and should cost him the runs scored off the delivery. Its a no-ball when you are too wide of the pitch, it should be the same when you are too close to the stumps to make them rattle. England again have gotten the favour of wayward rules.

  • thaikkathameed on September 29, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    On several occasions it is seen that the bowler collides with the stumps and is left free with a dead ball. The batsman who has hit the bowler for a six or any single run it is scrubbed from the total. This is gross injustice to the batting side. If the bowler collides with the stumps it should be declared a no-ball and a free hit to be awarded. In this manner JUSTICE will be done.

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  • thaikkathameed on September 29, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    On several occasions it is seen that the bowler collides with the stumps and is left free with a dead ball. The batsman who has hit the bowler for a six or any single run it is scrubbed from the total. This is gross injustice to the batting side. If the bowler collides with the stumps it should be declared a no-ball and a free hit to be awarded. In this manner JUSTICE will be done.

  • HawK89 on September 29, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    Dead-ball for Finn's case should of been looked at as a no-ball, without the free-hit. Hitting the stumps on his way in shouldn't allow him to get a wicket, and should cost him the runs scored off the delivery. Its a no-ball when you are too wide of the pitch, it should be the same when you are too close to the stumps to make them rattle. England again have gotten the favour of wayward rules.

  • Badgerofdoom on September 29, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    Yeah I'm an England fan and I think it should be called no-ball, just stop hitting the stumps!

  • on September 29, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    The question is, what is the problem with him hitting the stumps? The argument from South Africa was that it was a distraction to the batsman, and so a dead ball. In most cases of a distraction the batsman pulls away, presumably there's not the time to do that in this case? There have been several occasions when Finn has hit the stumps and been hit for 4, was the batsman really distracted then? Apart from the distraction, where is the problem? It is presumably painful for him, and could potentially cost England a run out as the stumps are already broken.

  • jrtrigg2000 on September 29, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Why should it be either? The problem is that Smith claimed that it was a batting distraction; the fact that in that same Test and this game, fours were hit demonstrates that it clearly is not a distraction to the batsman. If anything, it would be a distraction for the bowler. This sort of thing has happened countless times in cricket history with no problems until now. I agree with Jonathan Agnew's comments on TMS - it was mind games to rile Finn, and the cricketing authorities have risen to the bait.

  • jrtrigg2000 on September 29, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    I agree with Stuart. Moreover, aren't bowlers always told to bowl wicket to wicket? No-one complained when Terry Alderman bowled to Gooch from more or less in front of the stumps.

  • on September 29, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    I think it should have called a no ball along with a free hit, it cost Franklyn and New Zealand a potential 4

  • vipravara on September 29, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    When the entire fault is with the bowler (Finn-kicking the stumps while bowling) which is being found repeatedly too, it should be taken more seriously. The batting side need not be put to any disadvantageous position because of it. It should be called a no-ball outright. Calling it a dead ball, where the bowler is getting away without any penalty is nothing but encouraging the most irritating practice of bowling, where the said bowler is pampered NOT to rectify it.

  • blunderbus on September 29, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Simple - these are no-balls. If you deliver from outside the return crease, that's a no-ball, if you smack the stumps (with hand or foot or knee) you're transgressing on the other side, that's the obvious limit.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 29, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Finn is going to hold the record as the bowler hitting the most stumps by the end of his cricket career. Most of those will be at the non-strikers end though as he bowls, however...