Pausing while bowling can now be deemed unfair

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is just one of many bowlers who occasionally pause before bowling

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is just one of many bowlers who occasionally pause before bowling

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

The International Cricket Council (ICC) have called on match officials and umpires to decide whether bowlers who pause before bowling can be deemed unfair.

This is just one of the latest clarifications in the match officials almanac.

“There is no stopwatch being used to measure the length of the pause,” an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “This is one issue where the umpires on the day need to judge what is unfair.

“The pause before delivery has not been specifically outlawed but each incident of this nature will be judged on its merits and will be dealt with under Law 42.2. When the umpires feel that a bowler is deliberately using this tactic unfairly to distract a batsman they can rule dead ball.”

Another case which warranted the ICC’s attention involved Australia all-rounder Steven Smith moving from leg slip to first slip to take a catch when Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam was playing a reverse sweep.

While the ICC says that it is unfair for fielders to make significant movements before a batsman has struck the ball, Law 41.8 states that if the batsman is early to get into position to play the shot, i.e. before the ball reaches him, the fielder is then free to make significant movements.

“The Law was designed to prevent a fielder intentionally deceiving a batsman,” the ICC said. “It was silent on a fieldsman anticipating where the ball is going based on the movement of a batsman. Cricket did what any other sport would do: prevent a player getting an unfair advantage through deception, but encourage the skill of anticipation and reading the play.

“We have a number of video examples from recent years of a slip fieldsman anticipating where a paddle sweep is going and moving in that direction just before the ball has reached the striker. None of these examples was called dead ball by the umpires on the day when interpreting the same Law, so the ‘change’ you refer to would have been if we had instructed the umpires to call dead ball in those circumstances.

“The instruction included in the umpire’s almanac was a clarification, not a change to what was happening in practice.”

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