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Finn stumps problem to become no-ball

Alan Gardner

February 21, 2013

Comments: 84 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn's regular hitting of the non-striker's stumps caused problems, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 1st day, August 2, 2012
Steven Finn's habit of hitting the stumps at the bowler's end first caused issues against South Africa last summer © Getty Images
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If Steven Finn needed any further incentive to drop his habit of kneeing the stumps in his delivery stride, it has been provided by the announcement that it will in future be called a no-ball. The change to the Laws, rubber-stamped by the the MCC Committee, has been brought about specifically in response to Finn's persistent problem, which the England bowler is still trying to eradicate.

The new ruling will come into effect from October 2013 but it is possible for the ICC to change the playing conditions for international cricket to immediately reflect the Law.

The issue came to wider attention during England's home series against South Africa last summer, after a complaint from the batsmen that it was causing a distraction during the second Test at Headingley. Graeme Smith was caught at slip off a delivery that was called dead-ball by the umpires, as Finn had clipped the stumps at the non-striker's end. At the time, the MCC announced that it would review the Laws.

Although Finn has been working to deal with the problem in his delivery stride, the habit has seen umpires call dead-ball with regularity since last August and cost Finn another wicket during the ODI series in India, when Suresh Raina edged to slip. In his most recent outing, the second ODI against New Zealand, Finn trialled a new, shortened run-up, with four strides removed - but still clipped the stumps at one point during the match.

Until now, umpires only had recourse to Law 23.4(b)(iv) which states a dead-ball should be called whenever a batsman is "distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while he is preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery".

In practice, Finn has been allowed one warning per series before a dead-ball is called but even this caused confusion on the New Zealand tour, when Finn collided with the stumps during the second ODI and Brendon McCullum hit the delivery for four. The delivery was allowed to stand and Alastair Cook could be heard asking the umpire, Rod Tucker, why a dead-ball wasn't called, as Finn had been warned during the T20 series.

The MCC's head of cricket, John Stephenson, said: "MCC continues to act as a robust guardian of the Laws of cricket, and must ensure that it consults widely within the amateur and professional game before making changes that will affect anyone who plays the game.

"MCC's decision today to make the breaking of the stumps during the act of delivery a no-ball provides clarity to the situation and removes the need for a subjective assessment to be made by the umpire as to whether the striker has been genuinely distracted or not. It also ensures that the striker will still be credited with any runs that he scores from the delivery, and will act as a significant disincentive to the bowler from doing it."

The change was recommended by the MCC's Laws sub-committee, which includes the ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson, and Simon Taufel, the former umpire who is now the ICC's umpire performance and training manager, after discussion with the MCC Cricket committee.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Humbata on (February 25, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

@Jimmy2s (February 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT): You talk about other people missing the point but you have missed it by a greater distance than Peter Siddle does the ball when he aims a cover drive ! It is certainly not about stopping the bowler delivering the ball from an illegal area - the area from where a legal delivery can be bowled is solely determined by the placement of the bowler's feet in his/her delivery stride. To say that "you can't bowl from too straight" [SIC] is nonsense - one of the world's best bowlers, Lasith Malinga, regularly bowls the ball from the line of the stumps quite legitimately

Posted by Kapil_Choudhary on (February 24, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

So will such a no ball result in a free hit?????????????

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

I have watched Eng vs NZ in T20 World cup. In that match NZ was at the receiving end by calling these deliveries dead. NZ got runs in these deliveries and they were null and void as the ball were called dead. It is the issue bowler creates and for that batsmen should not be penalised.

In my view law should have been changed during the following match of the same tournament. Why so late, I think ICC is far too late in their decision making process. Even now law will be effective from Oct. What does that mean, let the bowlers continue to enjoy their mistakes with impunity?

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 23, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

@ electric_loco_WAP4...don't watch much cricket do we? Military medium Finn did ok against Aus in the ODIs last year didn't he? Ha ha! I love it when you guys describe your quicks as if they are a better unit than the Windies late 70s/ early 80s. Most are incredibly inexperienced and/or injury prone! The fact Johnson is back in the mix says it all. I reckon 'county trundler' Jimmy Anderson will have more than enough for your top 6 of Clarke + a load of blokes averaging in the 30s.

Posted by landl47 on (February 23, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

I've advocated before for this change, so I welcome it. The situation in the present Eng/NZ series is the worst of both worlds- a dead ball has the potential to penalize either side. The decision had to be made either to ignore it altogether (and then what happens if a bowler mows down all three stumps in an attempt to get closer to the wicket?) or to make it a no-ball and common sense says it should be the latter. Jimmy2s point in the featured comment is dead right.

Finn bowled exactly one ball in the ODI series with NZ where he clipped the stumps, so he's well on the way to eradicating the problem. There's plenty of room between the stumps and the return crease and Finn, like every other bowler, should stick to the open space. With this decision he has no option, or he will find himself bowling overs which never end!

Posted by PACERONE on (February 23, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

You are not allowed to bowl too wide of the crease so the opposite should apply.One other point is that he gets hit for four and breaks the stump the batsman gets penalized which is not fair.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 23, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Just hoping he -Finn- is there for the Ashes - the back to back series -love to see fastest of Eng bowlers bowling his 85 mph ramrod straight ones mixed with S/Wide dross being carved around by the world's best M Clarke to rake up his own set of Bradmanesque scoring stats in the Ashes >70 odd years after the great man himself..... Not even a mention of county trundler Jimmy the 'spearhead' and Broady .... young Aussie bats have some easy pickings and records in the offing ....Add to another Ashes thrashing for the English and cricket couldn't be any more fun!! ...can't wait..

Posted by JG2704 on (February 23, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (February 22, 2013, 12:04 GMT) Sorry , but if a spectator interferes with a batsman's eyeline etc he has time to withdraw from the shot - time he does not have in between Finn hitting the wicket and the ball arriving at him. As I said , I believe that the vast majority would not be put off at all by it and would not have time to be put off by it but as others have put , it is Finn's fault and no one elses. Anyway at least now there are no grey areas

Posted by RISHI2016 on (February 23, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

here goes another one... if the batsman is distracted he can just avoid playing the ball... now if the bowler has any color of hairs apart from black it would be called no ball as it might distract.. why nt let batsmen also decide which ball should a bowler bowl once he has committed a no ball .. and where to not put the fielders..ah...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

The MCC decision is the right one. This issue had been debated ad infinitum, ad nausium. No need to add anything more. But the article is biased. It only talks of the wickets which were disallowed, not about the runs denied.

Posted by delboy on (February 22, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

One of the main distractions to the batsman when a bowler continually remove the bails at the non striker's end is in deciding whether of not he nshould commit to playing a shot to the ball delivered. If he knows it is a noball then in a similar way to other no ball scenarios it is clear to him when he decides what shot to play whether or not he can be given out; stumped, caught, runout etc....

Posted by delboy on (February 22, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

Yes this waste time and annoys the opposition so I think the powers that be has decided rather than start introducing warnings etc it makes more sense to make the incident a noball issue. This way the oppo get a run and extra ball each time it happens. It is then in the interest of the offending skipper to ensure that he does not seize on these occurrence to drag matches into bad-light situations. I would like the ICC to BAN ANY KIND OF TAPE OR ELASTOPLAST ON A PLAYERS BOWLING FINGERS. They could also do something to outlaw the wearing of blink and toilet chains around players necks.

Posted by subbass on (February 22, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

Well I'm firmly in the camp that Smith was not put off one bit, simple case of gamesmanship. Want proof ? Then look no further than the amount of times a batter crashed the ball to the ropes despite been ahem 'put off' by something which clearly does not put you off. Plenty of bowlers have done the clipping of the stumps in delivery either with the leg or arm, Shaun Pollock was one of many over the years.

Posted by yorkslanka on (February 22, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

and about time too !! this should have happened a long time ago..nothing against Finn personally, just dont think the batting side should be punished for his problem...

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 22, 2013, 15:48 GMT)

@zoot - The no ball rule already governs the position of the bowler's feet relative to the stumps at the time of delivery. I'd suggest that the bowler gains no advantage at all in kicking the stumps over as he delivers and that, if anything, the reverse is true.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

@Ian Jones. We evolve, dont we ?

Posted by zoot on (February 22, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

It gives the bowler an unfair advantage to be able to bowl so straight that he breaks the stumps so it's a sensible change in the rules.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

Get this straight people - this affect ALL cricket WORLDWIDE from 1st October. From a Test match at Lords to a game on the local village green / maidan!!

Jimmy2's - they have already outlawed bowling from too straight by making it an offence for the bowler's front foot to cross middle stump in the delivery stride.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

This has been happening since the invention of cricket in the 1700s, why have they changed the law now? One batsman trying to play mind games in a series has led to a law change. Utterly ridiculous.

Posted by AKS286 on (February 22, 2013, 13:48 GMT)

What if Hand takes off the bails while bowling or bails off due to wind ??

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 22, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

@JG2704 on (February 22, 2013, 10:44 GMT), I don't really see how it could be batsman's choice after the fact. Prior to this new law, the issue is whether or not the batsman was distracted, pure and simple. Either he's distracted or he's not. If someone walks in front of the sight screen the batsman can't play the ball and then decide whether to claim he was distracted afterwards depending on the outcome. That is purely punishing the bowler for something that is not against the rules, which is quite wrong. Now, I don't deny that it's the bowler's mistake to break the stumps and something that should be avoided if possible but, up until now, it has not been against the rules so it is wrong to specifically penalise the bowler. I have no issue with this new law being introduced but I think the whole situation up to now has been poorly handled. When Smith complained that it was distracting the umpire should have told him to just step away.

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (February 22, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

A good decision...Ultimately the management wants to ensure that the on-ground decisions does not depend on player/umpire's perception and on-field umpire can call it a no-ball without hesitation. I hope ICC/MCC also instructs umpire to declare a non-striker batsman out if mankanded (i.e. without asking fielding captain to withdraw the appeal)

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Good move from the MCC,then name it Finnball!!

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 22, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

@jimmy2s - Bowlers used to hit the stumps when delivering the ball and no one cared. There was no suggestion that dead ball should be called and, since it was a legal delivery, it couldn't be a no ball The catalyst for this change is the decision that it distracts the batsman. I don't see how people are missing the point.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

I had thought that sense and sensibility had become alien to cricket! Thank Heavens good sense seems to have prevailed, albeit belatedly!

Posted by wibblewibble on (February 22, 2013, 11:09 GMT)

This wasn't a problem until the SA series - no-one was really bothered about it. Smith, probably as part of a plan from Kirsten, immediately went up the umps and said "him hitting the stumps is distracting me", therefore trying to achieve an advantage to SA if he breaks the stumps when he takes a wicket.

I don't think Finn should be breaking the stumps so much, but I also don't think it affects the batsman much at all. When a bowler breaks the stumps at the non strikers end, the fielding team is already disadvantaged, since they then cannot run someone out at that end as easily.

An important thing to note is that no action, none whatsoever, is taken when the wicket keeper accidentally breaks the stumps at the strikers end. Surely this is *far* more distracting to the batsman?

Posted by zoot364 on (February 22, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

Clear, common sense decision from the MCC. The ICC could learn a thing or two there.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 22, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

A final point , is that I almost get the impression that some on here think Finn does this deliberately in a ploy to put the batsman off.

I can't see how a bowler would risk injuring himself (tripping over the stumps) etc for the very remote chance he might put the bowler off. This new ruling may actually save Finn from himself in this respect

Posted by JG2704 on (February 22, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

Have to be honest I think that (whether we agree or not with this ruling) there should not be the ruling whereby the bowler has one delivery which is allowed and then the rest are called dead ball,no ball or whatever. The one delivery which is allowed could be the one which genuinely puts the batsman off.

Another point is that we get some comms which have mentioned about Pollock doing it for SA and some who are defending SP because he didn't do it as frequently as Finn has been doing it recently.

Surely it is either ok or it is not ok?

If a bowler bowls a front foot no ball once in a blue moon , should the ball not be a no ball because of the rareness of the incident or should he get punished the same as any other bowler? Surely it is either judged a legal delivery or not. You wouldn't have an umpire saying to a bowler that he hardly ever bowls a front foot no ball or a wide so he'll let him off would you?

Posted by JG2704 on (February 22, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

@Harmony111 - I always said that - as it stood - it should be the batsman's choice , esp in shorter formats and if a batsman hits a 4 or 6 or even 2 runs , then the batsman should decide whether or not he wants the runs to count. I'm not sure what happened pre India and if the umpires discussed the matter with Dhoni and whether Dhoni agreed beforehand about the dead ball call ... If he did , then the umpires have to call it a dead ball every time - if that was the agreed ruling. Anyway - despite the fact that I believe very few batsmen would be put off by this , from a bowler bowling at this pace - I'm glad there are no more grey areas

Posted by JG2704 on (February 22, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

@voice_of_reason /clarke501 I don't recall that but thanks for giving an example. I'd always previously thought that it was a fairly unique fault.

@wgtnpom -, 19:03 GMT) I wonder - because the fault is kind of similar in that the (back leg in this instance) in the delivery stride rather than the actual delivery itself if you get my drift

@SurlyCynic -, 19:32 GMT) Lol - at you talking about whingeing- V/O/R is purely stating that what happened , that no one else in the past has made an issue of it. And re a bowler just brushing the stumps etc or hitting them with more force , it is either tolerable or not. You can't start judging whether the impact is brushing the stumps or hitting the stumps

@Andy Plowright- , 19:33 GMT) Fair point there - it does open up a can of worms this one.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 22, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

@Harmony111 (post on February 22, 2013, 8:22 GMT): I recall James Franklin hitting a ball for 4, only for it to be suddenly called a dead ball because Finn had done his 'chop-sticks' again. Franklin/NZ were more annoyed with the denial of the 4 runs than the Finn/dead-ball problem. Likewise during the SA series, Smith hit a few 4's and didn't appear to notice the stumps down at the other end from Fiinn-knee'd. What people like jmcilhinney are simply trying to say is it seems to be a very selective distraction!

IMO, this is a good call by ICC. It's a bowler's problem (Finn-knee's no ball!) that is POTENTIALLY distracting to a batsman, and is perhaps equivalent to a bowler overstepping to get a slight advantage.

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 22, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

@jmcilhinney: By your logic if the batsman hits a no ball for a 4 or 6 or for any other run then it should not be a declared a no ball cos the batsman was clearly not inconvenienced due to the overstepping, right? How ridiculous !!! And do you think Raina is going to send a tweet or a fax or something when he gets distracted due to Finn's habit? Do you know there is something called reflex, something called focus, something called flow that gets affected in an invisible way to disrupt the player's batting? At another forum you had made an inherently contradictory comment and now you make a very ridiculous comment. The better Eng fans too are now getting more and more Front-Foot-Lunge like.

Posted by satishchandar on (February 22, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

Well.. A sensible decision. Why should batsman lose their runs when Finn commits mistake? It is bound to cause concentration issue which might lead to wicket. If someone does this inspite of so much warning and penalties, he is the one who should suffer and not the batsman.. Let Finny rebowl it and batsmen get their runs for it.

Posted by northumbriannomad on (February 22, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

It seems a good change. The calling of dead ball certainly cost Finn a lot of wickets - but in itself this strongly suggests that batsmen were genuinely distracted. Anyway, the whole discussion about it was tedious and pointless - especially when conducted by Botham and Gower in the Sky commentary box - so it's good that they can now shut up about it.

Posted by alarky on (February 22, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

Welcome to the "THE FINN LAW"

It's good to see the ICC at last trying to make some sense by at least rectifying one of their mostbizarre laws. And, I want to take credit for being the first person to suggest to the ICC through "Skysports" that 'the bowler should be "NO-BALLED" for this infringement. I also think that this subsection of the "No Ball" rule should be called "The Finn Law". Something needs also to be done urgently to prevent players from being penalised when they hit the stumps via an excellent piece of fielding skill.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 22, 2013, 0:19 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, Posting ludicrous mph stats about Finn shows how little you've seen him play. The recent test series showed how empty India's fast bowling stocks are, with no one to match Finn's 90mph+ consistency. Try out DVD of England's Whitewash of Australia last year in 2012 for starters.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 0:02 GMT)

No ball is correct. He's only done it a couple of times recently and was clocking 148kph off ten "Neil Radford" style stuttering paces 2 days back. Not as fast as the 154 he was clocking 15 months ago, but well on the way back. BUt a good move on no-balls. Man up and get on with it.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 21, 2013, 23:48 GMT)

I think that this ruling is more in response to the ridiculous convention that the umpires came up with of providing one warning per game or per series and then calling dead ball than the fact that Finn occasionally bumps the stumps. I repeat what I have said previously: this was much ado about nothing. The issue was that batsman were allegedly distracted by it. The simple remedy is for the batsman to do what batsman always do when distracted: step away. There could be no fear of getting out because it would be obvious that the stumps were broken and the ball would be called dead. If the batsman goes through with the shot then that's acknowledgement that he is not distracted. Maybe some batsman are genuinely distracted, so they can step away. It was unfair that Raina was reprieved because he clearly wasn't even aware that the stumps had been broken. That said, I have no issue with it being called a no ball so everyone now just has to deal with the new law.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

move an inch to your left on delivery... damn... some things are just made a wee bit more complicated and complex than they need to be.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

This was a pretty easy one for the MCC. A bowler knocking the stumps over in delivery stride slows down the game and brings all decisions resulting from that delivery into question (e.g., batsman may be distracted; umpire may not hear a snick or may be distracted and miss something; etc.). Penalizing the offending team for the bowler's transgression is the most efficient way to curb (and hopefully eliminate) these problems. It also prevents all the whinging after a wicket is turned down because dead ball has been called - while "dead ball" may feel more subjective, a no-ball call codified in law for this type of circumstance comes across as more official and final.

Posted by voice_of_reason on (February 21, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

@SurlyCynic It's nothing to do with nationality. Pollock himself spoke recently about how he often used to knock off the bails as he bowled. I think these international superstars are being a little precious and don't believe it is a distraction. If it was, they wouldn't be able to hit fours from some of those deliveries because they'd be flinching as they backed away.

Ultimately it won't have any impact on Finn as his job is to spend all his time practising and playing cricket. It won't take long for him to groove a slight change that will fix this. The impact is on recreational cricket.

Question: on occasion, in high winds umpires can agree to play without bails if heavy bails are not available that will stay in place. If a bowler clips the stumps in these circumstances, is it a no ball, as we don't know if the bails would have come off?

Posted by pb10677 on (February 21, 2013, 22:07 GMT)

Good.

I am an England supporter, and I think Finn is a very promising bowler. But this kicking the stumps habit has got ridiculous, as well as slightly embarrassing. I've posted comments like this before, and said I thought it should be a no ball/free hit when it happens.

So I'm glad this in place. By the looks of it, he is working with David Saker to eliminate the problem - and as many others on here have said, this will be an added motivation to do so.

Good to see prompt response by MCC on something like this. If only the ICC were as proactive.........

Posted by Neil1489 on (February 21, 2013, 21:26 GMT)

Greatest_Game - Do you remember who actually won the last ashes???

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 21, 2013, 21:05 GMT)

@ Front-Foot-Cringe. Is it tough on poor little Finny winny to keep his wonky knee out of the stumps. Poor little feller, trying so hard for a wicket to wicket line that he blunders into the stumps so often the laws of cricket are changed to stop him from delaying the game and whining when the umps correctly call him, & he does not get wickets.

And calling him "the world's fastest bowler" shows how far you have slid the dementia that appears to be your fate. He's a med fast at best! And as for the "more than his part" in the NON whitewash of Australia? He failed at Perth where Australia WON - so much for the "whitewash" - & was dropped for the final 2 tests! He averaged 33.14 in the series - less than pedestrian, but not as bad as Broad's ave of 80.5 & SR of 209.5. Ouch!

Finn's medium trundling will not much benefit Eng in the Ashes, especially if his stump blundering is giving away a few extras an over. Thr batsmen wont even have to ofer a shot to see the score rise.

Posted by RAVI_BOPARA on (February 21, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

You will never see Finn ever hit the stumps again in his follow throught now!!!

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 20:45 GMT)

During the Ashes 10/11, Finn was bowling about 2 feet behind the front crease. I don't recall Finn hiting the stumps then. If it wasn't for the fact that Finn has a brilliant release, I would say he is one of the most un-cordinated bowlers I have seen in awhile, but his release of the ball is pretty much perfection & sort of makes up for lack of ryhthm. == == == Good decision, has to be a no-ball. Other bowlers can bowl near the stumps & not hit, Finn just needs to keep working on his stride.

Posted by ygkd on (February 21, 2013, 20:29 GMT)

Richardson and Taufel, please take a bow. You've done well.

Posted by maddy20 on (February 21, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

Finally! Hope this will stop the Englishmen from arguing with the umpire and will coax them to fix the actual problem. True Pollock did it occassionally, but that was very rare. Finn does it atleast 2-3 times per game. Also if this is the only way he can bowl stump to stump line, then he might as well go back to club cricket. International cricket has no room for amateurism.

Posted by jignatiusreilly on (February 21, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

Agree completely with the ruling. It was definitely necessary to get some sort of clarity on the issue. Also, thanks philvic for a great mental image: "Finn clatters into the stumps like a clumsy Giraffe." Made me chuckle.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 21, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

@JG2704 - Pollock came to mind and others commenting have reminded me about Cork too. They probably weren't repeat offenders in the way Finn has been.

Posted by Danevan on (February 21, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

Presumably if it had been Murali doing it they would have changed the law to say he could do it, but only 15% of the time.... Just kidding everyone!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

Smith's argument was that Finn's actions were distracting to the batsman, thus putting the batsman at a disadvantage. If that is the case, then a no-ball is the right way to sort it out for the future.

However, a drive that ricochets away for runs having hit the stumps and removed the bails is clearly an advantage for the batsman over the fielding side as the fielding side then have to remove a stump in order to run a batsman out. That disadvantages the fielding side through no fault of their own. Should there not be a similar rule change to cover the batsman taking the bails off at the non-striking end in this way?

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 21, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

Good. Now maybe Finn can fix his problem, and English fans like 'voice_of_delusion' can stop whingeing and blaming this problem on Smith, or the Aussies who complained before Smith.

Other bowlers have occasionally brushed the stumps, Finn took it to a whole new extreme.

Posted by philvic on (February 21, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

The correct decision. How a bowler can be allowed to get to this level in this era of professional cricket with bowling coaches etc with this serious defect is a mystery. Pollock did occasionally dislodge a bail -Finn clatters into the stumps like a clumsy Giraffe. Either way, it is a much worse offence then a marginal front-foot no-ball.

Posted by wgtnpom on (February 21, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

JG2704: I think free hits only apply to front foot no balls, so not in this case. But for once a sensble decision from MCC. It might discourage stump to stump bowling but the likes of Richard Hadlee didn't have this problem so bowlers can hardly complain.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 21, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

The right decision, and bout time too! It was surprising that such a gaping hole existed in the laws.

I do hope for Finn's sake that this is not the only cricketing achievement for which he will be remembered!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 21, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

It's tough on the world's fastest bowler as he's only trying to make a genuine attempt at maintaining a tight wicket to wicket line. After playing more than his part in the Whitewash of Asutralia last year, Finn will be lethal for the B2B Ashes.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

What happens if the bowler breaks the bails / wicket with their bowling arm like most wicket to wicket bowlers tend to do???

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

The Finn law. Something to tell to his grandchildren. :)

Posted by voice_of_reason on (February 21, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

Pollock regularly knocked the bails off with his hand in delivery but no-one ever made an issue of it then. This has only come about because of Smith's mind games last summer and was entirely unnecessary. No need for a dead ball or a no ball. Just get on with the game. Still, what's done is done and it paves the way for batsmen to step away when a bowler stops in his delivery stride and to call it a distraction, thus outlawing this particular delivery. To my mind it must be more distracting than the bails being knocked off by the bowler's knee when you should be concentrating on the ball in the bowler's hand.

Posted by TripleCenturian on (February 21, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

Yes, not many cricketers can look back after they have retired and say they forced a change in the laws, although it may not be something to be proud of. Perhaps another solution would have been to have electrocuted the stumps too, although umpires and keepers may not agree!

Posted by AnnapolisValleyCricket on (February 21, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

This is the best decision that could be made, given the circumstances. It's purely a bowler infraction, and should rightly be punished by awarding the batsman an extra delivery plus an extra run for his side. And mikey76 is absolutely right; this is a problem that can be alleviated just by running-up a little wider of the stumps!

Posted by JG2704 on (February 21, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

Probably the right decision. It is purely the bowler's fault after all and at least .

It's quite strange re Finn as it seems to have been a problem he's developed rather than one he's always had. I'm guessing it will be a free hit in the shorter formats too. It's something he's needed to iron out anyway because there could in an extreme case (if he trips over the stumps) risk self injury so he has 7-8 months to rectify it.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 21, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

@Dark_Harlequin on (February 21, 2013, 16:37 GMT) You're right - no wonder our bowlers have so many injury issues

@clarke501 on (February 21, 2013, 16:58 GMT) I'll be honest , I don't remember seeing anything like that from any bowler. Not saying it didn't happen. Were there any similar repeat offenders?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

Great rule! I do it at my club a lot, and its poor showing! No I will be no-balled!

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 21, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

i think most thought that it should be called a no ball, it was not rocket science just the length of time its taken them to reach that conclusion

Posted by FarSight on (February 21, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

It is the best solution to a vexing problem for some time. Now everybody knows the rule!

Posted by PPD123 on (February 21, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

Absolutely the correct way to go about this issue. Penalize the culprit and play advantage in case it benefits the opposition. If it is a wkt, then the delivery is no balled, if the delivery is hit for a boundary, it stays. Eng coaching and bowling staff need to be careful and back Finn to overcome this challenge. Hope he does not lose his effectiveness (read - by trying to go away from the stumps) trying to avoid this issue.

Posted by applethief on (February 21, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

Just needs to hit the gym - if you watch, it's a conditioning problem, not a technical one. His right leg collapses in his delivery stride, and the bent knee hits the stumps. Tinkering with his run up won't help, building up his muscle strength will

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

That's the great decision.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 17:01 GMT)

Amuses me that he's so bad with this that he's got a law all to himself. I've seen people do it occasionally in the past, but Finn does it repeatedly. I know getting close to the stumps is generally seen as a good thing, but there's such a thing as too close.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 21, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

Bowlers used to hit the stumps in delivery before Finn's time. Everyone ignored it and got on with the game. The subjective judgement was that the batsman hadn't been distracted. Shame that common sense can't still prevail but at least no ball is better than dead ball.

Posted by SagirParkar on (February 21, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

@Hris >> i think it will be.. although Laws of the Game, which the MCC governs will be amended in October to reflect the change, ICC can amend its playing regulations earlier. and if local boards and first class clubs want to adopt it, they can depending on the stance of the country's board.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

Finnball, just like 'Browning' ( I refuse to call it 'Mankading' as it was Brown who at ran himself out)

Posted by mikey76 on (February 21, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

I remember Dominic Cork used to knock the bails off with his hand occasionally. No big deal was made out of it. Finn just needs to deliver six inches wider on the crease surely? Certainly no balling him should break the habit. One good thing to come out of this is his new shortened run, with no loss of pace it should increase his ability to bowl longer spells.

Posted by Narkovian on (February 21, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Definitely the best solution. This way the batsman cannot be out, but is still able to clout the ball for 6 without losing any runs he scores if it had been called dead ball. Watching Finn from front on, he seems to have a rather odd movement with his right knee in delivery. It goes out sideways at 90 deg, in a pronounced fashion. This means he cannot get as close to the stumps as other bowlers without knocking them down.

Posted by lonmar06 on (February 21, 2013, 16:45 GMT)

that is the right decision. Finn just has to stop, simple and this will be one way to give him the incentive.

Posted by Harlequin. on (February 21, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

Is it just me, or does Finn's right foot in the picture appear to be pointing in completely the wrong direction? He must have kicked the stumps particularly hard on that delivery!

WRT this new law: poppycock! It has all stemmed from some mind games Smith was playing last year, it was never a problem before that.

Posted by Faizan_Bahadur on (February 21, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

It should never have been a dead-ball from the start.Its a mistake from a bowler ,why should batmen runs,if scored,be taken away.I dont know who sits in the MCC committee to make such laws.ThankGod Simon Taufel is there now.There would be some sense in MCC now.

Posted by Azweer on (February 21, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

Its better to name it as Finn's No-Ball :P and give a free hit in tests... :D

Posted by Karnor on (February 21, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

Seems like the logical change to make. Finn will just need to learn not to knock the stumps down, the same way that all bowlers learn not to overstep.

Posted by hris on (February 21, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

had to happen. Hopefully this rule is in play during the Ashes.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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