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Feature

Time for bails to go? Chahal advocates rule change after Warner non-dismissal

Manjrekar has asked for LED lights to do the job bails do, Shastri doesn't want change after a "one-off case"

Yuzvendra Chahal agrees with Sanjay Manjrekar that if a ball hits the stumps and the bails light up but don't get dislodged, it should still be declared out.
One such moment came during Rajasthan Royals' loss against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday when off the last ball of Chahal's first over, he beat David Warner with a legbreak that went on to hit the stumps. Unfortunately for Chahal, and Royals, Warner survived as the bails didn't fall. Warner was on 22 at the time and the Capitals were 94 adrift of the target with 11 overs to go. Warner eventually walked back undefeated on 52 having seen Capitals home comfortably.
"Since it was first time this happened with me, even I was shocked because the ball hit the wickets and the bails did not fall," Chahal told ESPNcricnfo on Thursday. "If such a thing happens at a crucial time especially with a batsman like Warner, who does not offer too many chances… so if he had got out at that juncture then probably the match result could have been different."
Chahal said he had planned Warner's wicket, leaving a point and just one fielder to man the covers. With the ball turning, Chahal said he went "fuller". "The way he plays with a short backlift [trying to hit more square of the pitch], I wanted to create the gap [between the bat and the ball] because if the ball is turning, I have to go for the wicket."
The plan worked like a charm, and both Chahal and Sanju Samson started to celebrate, only to have their celebrations cut short.
The LED-stump technology is used by match officials to adjudicate three forms of dismissals: bowled, stumpings, and run-outs. The existing playing condition dictate that the bails have to fall off the top of the stumps for the batter to be declared out. And the LED lights flash only when both spigots on one or both bails are dislodged from the groove, though they can settle back in.
On Wednesday, just as the legbreak hit the stumps, the left bail came off the groove. Momentarily igniting the lights. But it rested back in the groove, reprieving Warner.
Warner said cheekily after the match that he was "due some luck". "You do the hard yards at training and you create your own luck and I think tonight I had some," he told Mitchell Marsh during an interaction. "Spinners complain when the ball doesn't spin and they complain when the ball does spin. It was one of those things where the stumps were jammed in the ground."
Chahal said while he respected the rule, he was in favour of it being changed. "We can do that because at a crucial time, and it is a big event or match or final, then something like this happens because if the ball hits the wicket then it should be out," he said. "If it is given not out just because the bails have not fallen off then it could cost you a match. It definitely will affect the [bowling] team."
"If you have bails, then the bails should fall off. If tomorrow you say get rid of the bails, then go by the lights. It's a case of basically getting rid of the bails. But why change it? It's there for a 100 years and the fun element is there, and the luck factor comes in"
Ravi Shastri
Talking on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time Out on Wednesday, Manjrekar had stated that bails be made "redundant", considering LED stumps are widely used these days. "It would have been a wicket, deserving for Chahal who bowled superbly," he said. "It was a terrible shot from Warner, and it didn't get a wicket. Unless it's adding an aesthetic value, they should just get rid of the bails because they're completely redundant with LED technology."
Ravi Shastri, though, had a more traditional viewpoint, saying that bails, which had been introduced in cricket to allow match officials to determine if the ball had hit the stumps or not, should stay. "It's a Catch-22 situation," he told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday. "Suppose I play a forward defence and the ball rolls on to the stumps at a very slow pace and touches the stumps, and the bails don't fall off - is he out or not out? The debate will start there as well.
"If you are looking from the bowler's point of view, you might say the lights have flashed, you should be given out. But if that's the rule that has existed over a 100 years, there's an element of suspense, whether it will fall or not fall, that makes the luck factor come into play. I think it's very rare the bails won't fall, you'll have a one-off case like this.
"If you have bails, then the bails should fall off. If tomorrow you say get rid of the bails, then go by the lights. It's a case of basically getting rid of the bails. But why change it? It's there for a 100 years and the fun element is there, and the luck factor comes in."
Shastri cited an example from his playing days when he was at the "receiving end" in a dismissal where the bails had fallen off without anyone noticing it. "I remember a game in Mumbai where I was batting against West Indies at the Wankhede and [Michael] Holding was bowling. I was batting on 70 or something and there's one that nipped back and went to [Jeffrey] Dujon. And after a minute, there was an appeal because one bail had fallen down. No one heard anything, but the bail had fallen down and I was given out. It was the right decision because when they really showed it in slow motion, it was the pace of Holding. It might not have touched the stumps but the speed at which the ball was going it dislodged the bail. And that's cricket. I was at the receiving end of it."
He, however, admitted that he would reluctantly agree for the existing rule to be tweaked. "If you see most of the rules, if they are in favour of the batsmen, then this one as a bowler to get something back, it's not a bad thought," Shastri said. "I don't want to change things for the sake of changing."

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo