No Ball Rules in Cricket
What is a No-Ball?
A no-ball is an illegitimate delivery in cricket. The ball will have to be delivered again in order to have a complete over of six legitimate deliveries. When a no-ball is delivered, the bowling team is penalised with one run in international matches and two runs in some non-international games.
How Many Ways Can a No-Ball be Delivered?
There are ten cases in which a delivery may be called a no-ball in a cricket match:
- The most common type of no-ball happens when the bowler oversteps the popping crease. The bowler must have some part of his foot behind the popping crease at the time of delivering the ball.
- A no-ball may be called if the bowler’s back foot is on or outside the return crease. The bowler’s back foot must remain within the return crease at the point of delivery.
- A ball delivered underarm is called a no-ball unless there is a prior agreement between the teams allowing such deliveries.
- A ball delivered with the wrong arm is a no-ball if the bowler has failed to notify the umpire before changing the bowling arm. The player must also notify the umpire about which side of the wicket he plans to bowl from.
- A full toss above waist height (beamer) will be considered a no-ball.
- A bouncer that goes over the head of the batsman is considered a no-ball. The umpire may also call a no-ball if the bowler bowls a bouncer that the umpire considers dangerous and unfair.
- If any fielder encroaches the pitch before the ball reaches the batsman, the umpire is likely to call a no-ball. This would include a wicket-keeper, whose body (any part of it) encroaches the area in front of the wicket before the ball hits the bat or passes the batsman. If the fielding side violates any fielding restriction at the time of delivery, the ball will be considered a no-ball. An example of such fielding restriction is placing two fielders behind square or exceeding the permissible number of fielders outside the inner circle in a limited-overs game.
- A “throw” ball is a no-ball. If at the point of delivery the bowler bends his elbow by more than 15 degrees, the delivery is considered a no-ball.
- If the bowler breaks the stumps at the runner’s end during his delivery stride, the umpire will call a no-ball.
- If a ball delivered by a bowler bounces more than once on its way to the batsman, it will be called a no-ball.
Consequences of No-Balls
Any penalty runs awarded to the batting team, in relation to no-balls, will be added as extras. Any runs made by the batsman from a no-ball will be given to the batsman. Byes and leg-byes can also be scored off a no-ball. If a no-ball is a wide one, it will only be considered a no-ball, not a wide. However, any other penalty run, such as five runs awarded when the ball hits a helmet placed behind the keeper, will also accrue to the batting team, regardless of whether the ball is a no-ball. Any penalty run awarded for a no-ball will be reflected in the bowler’s analysis.
Types of Dismissal
The batsman cannot be caught or bowled off a no-ball. However, he can be run out. He can also be declared out for handling the ball, hitting the ball twice or obstructing the field.
Penalty to Players
If a no-ball is caused by the bowler throwing the ball, the umpire may warn the bowler not to repeat the offence. If in the opinion of the umpire the no-ball has been a result of a dangerous or unfair delivery, he may even suspend the bowler from further bowling in the game. The umpire may choose to report the offending bowler, who may have to undergo remedial action.
In a T20 match, a no-ball will be followed by a free hit. In other words, the next ball will be considered a free hit, on which the batsman cannot be dismissed except in ways that a batsman may be dismissed off a no-ball.
Who Can Call a No-Ball?
In most cases, calling a no-ball is a responsibility of the main umpire. However, there are circumstances when the leg umpire can call a no-ball. For instance, a thrown ball can be called a no-ball by the leg umpire. The leg umpire can also be consulted by the main umpire to decide whether a bouncer is likely to go over the batsman’s head or whether a full toss is above the batsman’s waist. In a recently played international game, the third umpire (TV umpire) was asked to call front foot no-balls, relieving the on-field umpires of the responsibility.
Recent Changes to No-Ball Rules
No-ball rules have undergone many changes over the years. For instance, the free hit rule came into power only after T20 cricket had been introduced. Moreover, until 1963, there was no “front foot” rule. In other words, bowlers could overstep the popping crease as long their backfoot was behind the bowling crease. However, this way a very tall bowler with a big stride could gain a great advantage if he managed to keep his back foot behind the bowling crease. Another relatively recent change has been the underarm no-ball rule. Until the mid-seventies, underarm bowling was considered legitimate. It all changed after Australia under Greg Chappell took advantage of the rule to beat New Zealand in a match in which the Kiwis needed six off the last ball. Greg famously, or even infamously, asked the bowler, who was by the way his brother Trevor Chappell, to bowl an underarm delivery to prevent the batsman from hitting a six. That was when the ICC decided, “enough is enough.”
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