Cricket as a sport has evolved over a period of time. The format has seen quite a few changes; from the timeless Test matches to 60-over One Day cricket, and then later reduced to 50-overs a side, and currently we have the ultra-short T20 format.
There has been a change in the colour of the ball and clothing used too; while it started with only red ball and white clothing, the ODI version has seen white ball cricket played under floodlights and with coloured clothing. Test match cricket has even seen a pink ball being used, and the long format is now played day-night at a few venues.
While the sport has seen changes in format, balls and clothing, there have also been some rules that have seen some changes in recent times. Many of the laws of the game have been modified to produce better balance between bat and ball.
While the rules have been tweaked in recent times, there are three more rules that need to change for the benefit of the game.
#1. Run out at the non-striker’s end
One of the worst ways for a batsman to be dismissed in cricket is to be run out at the non-strikers end. As a kid, everyone is taught to take a start when the bowler releases the ball, so it is almost impossible to get back into the crease when the striker hits it hard.
When the bowler gets a hand or any part of his body on his follow-through and the non-striker is short of the popping crease, the current rule adjudicates him as out. This rule is very tough on the batsman because the bowler hasn’t even made an attempt to run him out; on most occasions, this is purely by luck on the part of the bowler.
We have seen many matches turn around after this type of dismissal which is not done intentionally by the bowler, and hence should ideally not be in the list of dismissals.
#2. Dead ball once the stumps are broken
The umpires call the proceedings as “dead ball” in a few circumstances, such as the batsman getting hit or a fielder getting injured. But one occasion where the umpire doesn’t call it is when the fielder hits the stumps at either end.
The batsman is entitled to take an extra run in that case, and we have seen on a few occasions that the ball reaches the fence and the batting side gains extra runs.
This rule basically penalizes the fielding side for an effort that’s supposed to be rewarded. This has ensured many teams avoid going for direct hits, especially in the death overs, as there is a risk of giving away runs even if you hit the target.
Rules in cricket already favor the batters a lot when compared to the bowlers, and this one rule gives even more undue advantage to the batting side. Once the ball hits the stumps, the umpire should declare it as dead ball, so that the batting side is denied an opportunity to take extra runs.
#3. LBW – Pitching outside leg stump
This is one of the laws in cricket that has stood the test of time. A batsman cannot be judged leg before wicket out if the ball pitches outside his leg stump, irrespective of whether the ball would have hit the stumps or not.
The whole idea of this law was to avoid negative tactics, wherein the bowler could keep targeting outside leg stump which would not allow the batsman to score runs. This could have worked in previous eras, where bowlers had the advantage of uncovered wickets and there were no helmets for batsmen.
But we are in an era where batsmen are starting to play both right- and left-handed, and where they get under the ball and play it over the keeper’s head thanks to super-protective helmets. With the advent of T20, batsmen are anyways looking to play ultra-positive.
There is too much in favour of the batsmen these days, and ideally bowlers should be rewarded with leg before dismissals if the ball is going to hit the stumps – irrespective of whether the ball is pitching on or outside leg stump.
The rules need to be tweaked in such a way that the bowlers are kept in the contest. That is how the next generation kids will develop a liking towards having a bowl instead of fantasizing of just hitting sixes and fours.