Up until now the law stated that a dead-ball had to be called every time this problem occurred
Steven Finn has already garnered a reputation of being one of the best pace bowlers in international cricket today, however, his rather unorthodox habit of knocking down the stumps with his knee has been a major flaw in his game and has even cost him wickets on two separate occasions.
Finn has already revealed that he is trying to combat his habit by changing his run-up and landing a little further away from the stumps, but the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have announced that if Finn or any other bowler were to knock the stumps down with their knee, it will be ruled a no-ball from hence forth.
The MCC’s new ruling is supposed to come into effect in October 2013, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) have the ability to make that rule take effect immediately.
The issue about Finn’s habit sprouted up during England’s second Test against South Africa at Headingley last summer, when Proteas skipper Graeme Smith edged a delivery from Finn to the slips, but complained that he had been distracted by the lanky pace bowler knocking over the non-striker’s stumps with his knee.
Smith was given not out and this would be the same case during an ODI match against India in January, when Finn has batsman Suresh Raina caught in the slips, but had the delivery ruled as a dead-ball due to the fact that he knocked over the stumps with his knee.
Up until now, umpires always referred to Law 23.4(b)(iv) which states that a dead-ball should be called if a batsman is “distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while he is preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery”.
During the recently concluded ODI series between England and New Zealand, another issue emerged when Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum was awarded four runs after hitting a boundary off Finn, despite the fact that the seamer had knocked over the stumps with his knee yet again.
England captain Alastair Cook was visibly infuriated with the call and questioned the on-field umpires why the ball had not been ruled as a dead-ball as the law clearly states.
Talking about the new rule, MCC 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 consists of ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson, and former international umpire Simon Taufel.