March 22, 2013

Permit two run-outs off the same delivery

Take a leaf out of baseball and give fielders a chance to aim for a higher level of achievement
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A run-out is the most gut-wrenching of dismissals. It takes place in a segment of play that is removed from the central conflict between bat and ball, creating situations in which you often get executed for no fault of your own. Like any needless death, a run-out is surrounded by an explosive mix of circumstances that are fertile territory for drama, pathos, even farce.

If the intent of sport is to entertain and dramatise, what better way to achieve those aims than to take your most incendiary plotline and turn it up a notch? One run-out is tragic enough. Now imagine two run-out dismissals at the same time.

Here's a typical scenario: Batsman A fails to make his ground and gets run out from an outfielder's smart throw to the wicketkeeper. Batsman B, meanwhile, is also out of his ground (for any number of reasons - ball-watching, mishearing, miscalculating, or just having a plain old brain freeze). The wicketkeeper fires a throw to the bowler, who happens to be well positioned over the stumps and clips the bails to run batsman B out as well.

At the moment this can't happen in cricket because the laws don't allow it. But there is precedent in baseball, where the rules permit something called a double play, in which two batters get dismissed within the same continuous playing action if they are both off base.

It won't take much of a tweak in the laws to recreate this in cricket. All you need is to stipulate that after a run-out the ball isn't dead until the remaining batsman has also made his ground. If he doesn't, he too can be run out. That would result in two stomach-turning dismissals, effectively off the same delivery - the equivalent of a vicious stabbing, followed by a twisting of the knife. As a spectacle, you really couldn't ask for more.

The amendment required will be to Law 23 (dead ball). As presently configured, one of the conditions for the ball becoming dead is if a batsman gets dismissed. This could be rewritten to state that the ball is dead after a batsman is dismissed, except in case of a run-out, when it is not dead until after the remaining batsman has made his ground. If he fails to make his ground, permissible modes of dismissal (most obviously a run-out, but theoretically also obstructing the field) will apply.

This kind of a double-play run-out isn't really as radical as you might think. As a passage of play, it isn't much different from two dismissals off consecutive deliveries, which happens all the time. It even reinforces the basic intent of the run-out law (Law 38), which is to emphasise peril whenever the batsman is out of his ground.

Cricket's version of a double play could even end up being a terrific boost to the art of fielding, because fielders would have a new height of achievement to aim for. The number of double plays executed could become a cherished stat, as coveted by fielders as centuries are by batsmen and five-fors by bowlers. Fielding is the most overlooked part of the game; this could be just thing it needs.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tickcric on March 22, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    I think in baseball the ball continues to remain in play i.e, does not reach dead ball state after each delivery/ pitch. In cricket at the end of each delivery, when the ball is considered to be no longer in play we get to dead ball situation. Thus in cricket we always have an 'interval' between two deliveries but there is no such necessary interval in case of baseball. So double play comes naturally to baseball. You have suggested here changing the rules as to run-out situations. But then as pointed out by Ravooru Kodanda Rao there is a case for changing other dead ball situations too. Having one batsman caught & another run-out is pretty dramatic too! While we are at it, why not let the batsmen 'steal' runs as suggested by Taraka Perera? Actually cricket is not as fast paced as baseball. So cricketing rules reflect that. Having said that, making some alterations to dead ball situation to make the game more dynamic is an idea that can be tried out, perhaps, to begin with in the T20s

  • on March 22, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    This is a really interesting idea. A possibility of a double play (or even a triple play!) in baseball is always exciting, and there's certainly the potential for a crossover in cricket. Teams would be very reluctant to voice their approval for a rule change that effectively allows for two wickets off one ball, however much at fault they would be.

  • hiDhaval on March 25, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Why a No-ball for height also declared as 1-bouncer ? this is biased against the bowler. And fundamentally - A legitimate bouncer is the delivery that goes between the shoulder and top of the head. While No-ball is the one that goes over the head ! .. so theoretically too bouncer and No-ball cannot be at the same time!. I wonder why this rule has been overlooked / mis-used so far against the bowler.

  • on March 24, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    Disagree. This would give a free licence to fielders to take a shy at the stumps all the time. The present rule makes them think about the value of the throw,. This is a great judge of how a fielder handles pressure and no way that the rule needs changing.

  • Frankspeaker-USA on March 23, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    Sorry, a bad idea... we hardly have 5-6 batsmen in a team... if a team batting first or chasing a score.... has lost early quick 3-4 wickets and recovering from the early debacle ... players play in pressure there is as a high possibility of a run-out....imagine if there is a mix up while taking a run or both collided and if if both are out of the crease...n both get out (with what u suggested) then they are bowlers left to bat and there remains no balance of competition... it becomes a one sided phenomena.. it only sounds interesting if implied loss to game of cricket :)

  • ColJJ on March 23, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    I am not entirely conviced with the idea that " Ball is not dead after one batter gets run out and other has not grounded his crease. As one end has been lost already, in this case, can the other alone run and earn a score? (i-e ball hits stumps and a batter is has been ran out, whereas ball is deflected with stumps). Of course not. then how can we declare that ball is not dead and a the other end batter can also be ran out?

  • Dirk_L on March 23, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    A good idea for the IPL, Big Bash etc, but please keep it out of serious cricket.

  • IKISM on March 23, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    You cannot hang a guy twice for one crime....so lets stick with the law as it is because it sounds pathetic and definitely not in the spirit of the game.

  • manav599 on March 23, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    This is the most dissapointing article on this website. In baseball, the ball isnt dead, so the player running does get the run if he completes it. In cricket, no run can be added after a wicket falls, so there is no point in punishing a batsman for nothing at all.

  • I-Like-Cricket on March 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    I honestly thought you could do this. We used to "double run-out" batsmen at school all the time.

  • tickcric on March 22, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    I think in baseball the ball continues to remain in play i.e, does not reach dead ball state after each delivery/ pitch. In cricket at the end of each delivery, when the ball is considered to be no longer in play we get to dead ball situation. Thus in cricket we always have an 'interval' between two deliveries but there is no such necessary interval in case of baseball. So double play comes naturally to baseball. You have suggested here changing the rules as to run-out situations. But then as pointed out by Ravooru Kodanda Rao there is a case for changing other dead ball situations too. Having one batsman caught & another run-out is pretty dramatic too! While we are at it, why not let the batsmen 'steal' runs as suggested by Taraka Perera? Actually cricket is not as fast paced as baseball. So cricketing rules reflect that. Having said that, making some alterations to dead ball situation to make the game more dynamic is an idea that can be tried out, perhaps, to begin with in the T20s

  • on March 22, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    This is a really interesting idea. A possibility of a double play (or even a triple play!) in baseball is always exciting, and there's certainly the potential for a crossover in cricket. Teams would be very reluctant to voice their approval for a rule change that effectively allows for two wickets off one ball, however much at fault they would be.

  • hiDhaval on March 25, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Why a No-ball for height also declared as 1-bouncer ? this is biased against the bowler. And fundamentally - A legitimate bouncer is the delivery that goes between the shoulder and top of the head. While No-ball is the one that goes over the head ! .. so theoretically too bouncer and No-ball cannot be at the same time!. I wonder why this rule has been overlooked / mis-used so far against the bowler.

  • on March 24, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    Disagree. This would give a free licence to fielders to take a shy at the stumps all the time. The present rule makes them think about the value of the throw,. This is a great judge of how a fielder handles pressure and no way that the rule needs changing.

  • Frankspeaker-USA on March 23, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    Sorry, a bad idea... we hardly have 5-6 batsmen in a team... if a team batting first or chasing a score.... has lost early quick 3-4 wickets and recovering from the early debacle ... players play in pressure there is as a high possibility of a run-out....imagine if there is a mix up while taking a run or both collided and if if both are out of the crease...n both get out (with what u suggested) then they are bowlers left to bat and there remains no balance of competition... it becomes a one sided phenomena.. it only sounds interesting if implied loss to game of cricket :)

  • ColJJ on March 23, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    I am not entirely conviced with the idea that " Ball is not dead after one batter gets run out and other has not grounded his crease. As one end has been lost already, in this case, can the other alone run and earn a score? (i-e ball hits stumps and a batter is has been ran out, whereas ball is deflected with stumps). Of course not. then how can we declare that ball is not dead and a the other end batter can also be ran out?

  • Dirk_L on March 23, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    A good idea for the IPL, Big Bash etc, but please keep it out of serious cricket.

  • IKISM on March 23, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    You cannot hang a guy twice for one crime....so lets stick with the law as it is because it sounds pathetic and definitely not in the spirit of the game.

  • manav599 on March 23, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    This is the most dissapointing article on this website. In baseball, the ball isnt dead, so the player running does get the run if he completes it. In cricket, no run can be added after a wicket falls, so there is no point in punishing a batsman for nothing at all.

  • I-Like-Cricket on March 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    I honestly thought you could do this. We used to "double run-out" batsmen at school all the time.

  • on March 23, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    what about a catch and a run out as double play. This is actually what happens in Base Ball that you have to retain your bases once the striker is dismmissed through a catch

  • on March 23, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    This could have different effects. Good one is the fact when sometimes we see batsmen in the middle of pitch due to confusion and then themselves deciding whom to sacrifice. The new rule will make them act more positively. I am still OK with the fact that fielders will be even more on lookout, but I am not sure how will this effect the direct-hits. A nice thought, but with all the many runouts going to the TV umpire, Imagine the 3rd, 4th etc umpires needed to decide this and etc etc. And practically, I dont see lot of times we can actually see 2 runouts vs spending time at the 3rd umpire. Lots of fun to think about.

  • on March 22, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    I thought about this situation a lot growing up wondering why it was not possible. I realised today it was implausible. Take this scenario, a team is 8 wickets down last ball of the innings and need two runs to win. On the last ball the batsmen hits the ball to mid off and they set off running, they manage to complete a single but on trying to come back for the winning run one of the batsmen gets runout by a direct hit..game over.!!!.. Oh wait, under the new rules the ball is not dead. The ball ricochets off the wickets and runs to the boundary for four....wouldn't this mean the batting team wins despite the runout...

  • on March 22, 2013, 22:19 GMT

    Let Cricket stay as Cricket and Baseball as Baseball. Do you have stump outs in Baseball or Leg before Wicket?

  • flavamonkey on March 22, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    How about also allowing the batsmen hit the ball whenever it is thrown at the stumps so that he can make more runs?

  • on March 22, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    geemanjee: you just nailed it man. That is exactly my take on all these rules tweaks going around. Why don't we see baseball players wearing white clothes or using a bat similar to the one that we cricketers use? That would definitely increase the probability of hitting more home runs, thus bringing more joy to the crowd. But NO, they have kept the true essence of baseball and haven't copied other sports to make their sports more interesting. Their game consists of 9 innings each in which we barely see 2/3 home runs but still their fan base is more than happy with it. So why we as followers of cricket have to amend so many laws these days to get entertainment? Just enjoy cricket in its true essence guys.

  • on March 22, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    My only question is that why do we have to compare cricket to baseball? Why? Why? Beauty of both the games lie in the differences they present. Please leave cricket as it is. I am more than happy to play cricket as old school because that is where the true essence of this game lies. If we really have to make such amendments to the rules, then please do it in the t20 format as it is already based on a business model similar to what we see in baseball or football ( less time, more glamor, more money and the so called more 'entertainment'). Please leave test cricket as it is. Thanks!

  • geemanjee on March 22, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    I have more ideas. Why don't we get rid of the stumps and bails, and call the wicketkeeper a catcher instead? After all the precedent has been set in baseball. In fact, let's play with 9 fielders ... wouldn't that be more fun! More fours, more ground to cover so it would be so exciting! And then we can have like 4 "bases" (that is an interesting name that has a precedent also), or maybe put baskets instead (basketball does it for God's sake!) and hitters (not batsmen mind you) can run around in a circle instead of up and down. Fun Fun! Adds more umpires too (does Billy Bowden have a brother?). And why is tennis the only sport that gets to play with a tennis ball? We want it!

    Come on guys, stop changing the rules of cricket all the time! Look at the other established sports, they basically "tweak" the rules here and there, if that. Cricket administrators have gone crazy with these changes!

  • nowinter on March 22, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Not sure how this works if both batsmen are running to the same end?

    Why stop here- if the batsman is out caught, then why not be able to run out the non-striker?

  • ksekha on March 22, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Saad, what a fantastic idea! An even better one would be to change the shape of the cricket bat so that it is big and chunky at the bottom but gradually becomes thinner going from bottom to top. Also, there should be four sets of stumpe and not two, snd four batsmen should bat simultaneously. Finally, the shape of the cricket ground should resemble that of a diamond.

  • getsetgopk on March 22, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Interesting idea by Saad, Irfan the other day took two wickets of consecutive deliveries and that caused a ripple. Imagine two wickets of a single ball, that'll be something.

  • Nutcutlet on March 22, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    If it is to be tried at all, then there is always the faux cricket world of the IPL. What happens or doesn't happen there has no relevance to the world of genuine cricket overall. While the IPL geniuses are at it, they could introduce a whole set of special rules: 8 for a ball into the crowd; square bats; larger stumps; multicoloured balls (inc. the sponsors' logo ... never miss an opportunity!) Worry not.. The marketing men are at it & I'm darned sure that all kinds of new & exciting ideas are flying about. Two players simultaneously run out... Why not? Just keep it away from the proper game! And while we are at it, a new name for the sport of offer. (Can I copyright it here?) KRACKIT! (Exclamation mark included, of course!) Catchy, don't you think?

  • JoTom on March 22, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    I think we have enough so called "Rules" which makes this game from FUN to FUNNY ! Probably we will ask BCCI to introduce it on trial basis in Mumbai's 'Gully Cricket'

  • KrupeshPatel on March 22, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Dont think it will work. The ball is declared "dead" once the batsman is out. So how can a batsman be out once the ball is dead.....

  • on March 22, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    I like this idea for T20. Actually, I'd probably include caught out as well. It would be exciting to see a caught out from a fielder in a silly position followed by a quick throw to attempt a run out.

    The issue of addressing when the ball is dead would be quite simple: when the other batsman shows no signs of keep running and any fielder holds the ball within the infield, the ball would be called dead.

    As someone form outside the cricket culture I find the game very forgiving to the batting side, so any little help for the fielding side is welcome.

  • shillingsworth on March 22, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    I struggle with this series of articles - most consist of fixing something that isn't broken. This one however is just daft. The batting team has made a mistake - why punish them twice? What next? How about fielder takes a catch, runs over to the non striker, throws the ball at his bat and catches the rebound - both batsmen are out caught. I'm off for a lie down...

  • on March 22, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Why not allow other outs + run out as well? For example after catching one batsman the other can be run out. After one gets LBW-ed the other can be run out.

  • on March 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    there is a flaw in this provision. once a batsman is runout and the other is halfway down, he will run towards the same end as the stumps have been broken.

  • gmoturu on March 22, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    please don't this game any more complex. enough of the changing rules. if you want to make the game interesting make sporting wickets. support bowlers

  • Hercus on March 22, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    This idea is ridiculous. 1) Baseball is boring, just watch a whole game, not just highlights--it's mostly a defensive fielding game with no favor for batting. 2) Run-outs are already exciting. 3) Umpiring both ends of the wicket would be too challenging, and if both run-outs went to the third umpire it would slow the game down too much. 4) So if one runner is dismissed and the ball doesn't go dead, does this mean the other runner can keep on running until he is dismissed? On an overthrow could this one runner just keep on running by himself from end to end? 5) There would actually be less run-outs. Batters would be less likely to take very risky runs for fear of losing two wickets. This could kill the dying stages of a close game.

  • PPD123 on March 22, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    Actually thinking over this double play situation in cricket - It could actually turn into triple play. Generally you have one batsman padded up, who has to go next. Just imagine a situation of double play where 2 batsman suddenly get run out and you dont have 2 batsman padded up to come in, then there could be a possibility of one batsman being "timed out", leading to a "triple play".

    Imagine a team being 75/1 and you go to get some coffee and come back after 5 mins to find a triple play has happened and the game has turned on its head, the team is now 75/4. Go for it...makes this rule change MCC...

  • george204 on March 22, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    There's one flaw in this idea: what if both batsmen were running for the same end? (don't laugh, it can & has happened!)

    Do both batsmen get run out simply by the stumps at that end being broken? Does one batsman being run out at an end preclude the other batsman from making his ground at that end?

  • on March 22, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    come on man. like the new obstruct the field rule isn't stupid enough

  • dharsanti on March 22, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Well written article. Cricket and base ball are entirely different games. I agree with you that allowing two run outs will make cricket more interesting. Do not agree with many comments suggesting changing dead ball rule. Imagine a balled walking to balling stand and batsmen/wome take single.

  • on March 22, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    I'm presuming now what would be the scenerio if double run out happens on the last wicket. Would you call it 255/11?

  • on March 22, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Firstly I have to say that this wouldn't work. Secondly, out of interest I attended a baseball match in Los Angeles some years ago and found it to be one of the slowest and uninspiring sports I had ever seen! The long pauses, while each new batter walks out to the plate etc, are ideal for TV as they can be filled by commercials.

  • on March 22, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    certainly can be tried out in IPL first before extend it to T20 internationals and other formats.

  • akajaria on March 22, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Can we add rule changes we would like to see? It's a great initiative but could use some viewer suggestions too.

    Rule I'd change: 7 wickets max. in T20 cricket! Will restore the balance between bat and ball, allow captains to field better bowlers rather than any pie-chucker who can also hit a 6! Batsman will value their wickets a LOT more and bowlers will have a fair chance of development.

  • on March 22, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    This rule doesn't make cricketing sense. Double play is in baseball because there are 4 bases and they can steal bases/runs. Stealing runs in cricket is impossible other than taking a bye after the ball is delivered because the ball is not in play until the bowler is in his delivery stride. Also, baseball has 9x3 = 27 wickets to play with, cricket has only 10 (only 7-8 capable batsmen).

  • grunta122 on March 22, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    Baseball players bat multiple times in every game, therefore it's not such a big deal if there is a double or triple-play as they will get another chance at bat. Could you imagine if Tendulkar and Dhoni were out off the same ball? I'm not sure whether or not to take this article seriously...

  • on March 22, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    We might as well go the whole hog and turn cricket more into baseball. How about no runs if the ball is hit behind square on either side of the wicket? That's not exactly like baseball but close enough. And for those who think baseball is a fast-paced sport, yes certainly, when compared to cricket. But baseball is quite slow actually, barring the double and triple plays. And yes, there is a pause between pitches, ergo, there is a "dead ball" situation in baseball as well.

  • Harlequin. on March 22, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @Richard Crockford - great post!

  • on March 22, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    if you do not consider the ball dead as soon as batsman is dismised you will aloso have to allow those extra runs if ball goes to boundary after hitiing the stumps, how would you tackle such condition ?

  • on March 22, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Could always bring in an American Football theme too and allow fielders to tackle batsmen as they're running between the wickets to aid in a runout? Or how about the whole team being dismissed off one delivery if a catch is taken with one hand? No... no wait these are also ridiculous ideas that hopefully cricket will never have to entertain. Leave the rule as it is.

  • 94Colombo on March 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    What about a run out after the striker is caught and the non striker is out of the crease. I reckon a ball shouldn't be dead as soon as the batsman is out, but till the non striker and striker are both inside their ground. Bowled, hit wicket may be exceptions!

  • Sehsaavijay on March 22, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    What if this happens when the last pair is batting? Would the team be considered as 11 men out or will they start their next match at 0 for 1? There are some other silly rules in cricket that needs change such as the DL method (though it seems to be aimed only at SA team)

  • on March 22, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    there should be a benefit to batsmen too. how about letting them steal runs also like in baseball. while the bowler starts at the top of his run up batters will steal one. on other hand we can forget both this and the double play idea and let baseball and cricket stay as two separate games!

  • on March 22, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    If two run outs with a single ball is acceptable, then how about this situation: Batsman A is caught by a fielder who then throws the ball at non-striker's end and hits the stumps with the Batsman B out of crease

  • wouldlovetoplayagain on March 22, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    I have been thinking that they should try this in T-20 cricket as they are always looking for something different. Also if a batsman is able to be run out in this way it might cure some people who are notorious for causing run outs but always ghetting to the "safer" end and not going out themselves.

  • wouldlovetoplayagain on March 22, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    I have been thinking that they should try this in T-20 cricket as they are always looking for something different. Also if a batsman is able to be run out in this way it might cure some people who are notorious for causing run outs but always ghetting to the "safer" end and not going out themselves.

  • on March 22, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    If two run outs with a single ball is acceptable, then how about this situation: Batsman A is caught by a fielder who then throws the ball at non-striker's end and hits the stumps with the Batsman B out of crease

  • on March 22, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    there should be a benefit to batsmen too. how about letting them steal runs also like in baseball. while the bowler starts at the top of his run up batters will steal one. on other hand we can forget both this and the double play idea and let baseball and cricket stay as two separate games!

  • Sehsaavijay on March 22, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    What if this happens when the last pair is batting? Would the team be considered as 11 men out or will they start their next match at 0 for 1? There are some other silly rules in cricket that needs change such as the DL method (though it seems to be aimed only at SA team)

  • 94Colombo on March 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    What about a run out after the striker is caught and the non striker is out of the crease. I reckon a ball shouldn't be dead as soon as the batsman is out, but till the non striker and striker are both inside their ground. Bowled, hit wicket may be exceptions!

  • on March 22, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Could always bring in an American Football theme too and allow fielders to tackle batsmen as they're running between the wickets to aid in a runout? Or how about the whole team being dismissed off one delivery if a catch is taken with one hand? No... no wait these are also ridiculous ideas that hopefully cricket will never have to entertain. Leave the rule as it is.

  • on March 22, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    if you do not consider the ball dead as soon as batsman is dismised you will aloso have to allow those extra runs if ball goes to boundary after hitiing the stumps, how would you tackle such condition ?

  • Harlequin. on March 22, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @Richard Crockford - great post!

  • on March 22, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    We might as well go the whole hog and turn cricket more into baseball. How about no runs if the ball is hit behind square on either side of the wicket? That's not exactly like baseball but close enough. And for those who think baseball is a fast-paced sport, yes certainly, when compared to cricket. But baseball is quite slow actually, barring the double and triple plays. And yes, there is a pause between pitches, ergo, there is a "dead ball" situation in baseball as well.

  • grunta122 on March 22, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    Baseball players bat multiple times in every game, therefore it's not such a big deal if there is a double or triple-play as they will get another chance at bat. Could you imagine if Tendulkar and Dhoni were out off the same ball? I'm not sure whether or not to take this article seriously...