R Ashwin: Disallow the run or give bowler a ‘free ball’ for non-striker backing up


R Ashwin has revived the discussion around non-strikers backing up before the ball has been bowled, suggesting that technology be used to spot and penalise the errant batsmen, by either disallowing the runs scored off the ball in question, or giving the bowler a “free ball”.

Ashwin went on to provide an explanation for – on Twitter – how non-strikers, by backing up, could give their team an virtue as they could put a better batsman on strike. He said penalising the batsman could address the “grave disparity” between bat and ball in what he called an “increasingly more hard” surroundings for the bowlers.

Just hope that technology will see whether a batsmen is backing up before the bowler bowls a ball and disallow the runs of that ball each time the batter does so!!Thus, parity will be restored so far as the front line is concerned. #noball #dontbackup

— Ashwin (@ashwinravi99) July 28, 2020

“Just hope that technology will see whether a batsmen is backing up before the bowler bowls a ball and disallow the runs of that ball each time the batter does so!!Thus, parity will be restored so far as the front line is concerned #noball #dontbackup,” Ashwin started off tweeting. “Many of you are going to not be capable of see the grave disaparity here, so let me take a little time out to clarify to the most productive of my abilities. Whether the non striker backs up 2 feet and manages to come back for a 2, he’s going to put the same batsmen on strike for the next ball.

“Putting the same batsmen on strike might cost me a 4 or a 6 from the next ball and eventually cost me 7 more runs instead of could also be a 1 and a dot ball opportunity at a different batsmen. The same will intent massively for a batter wanting to receive off strike even in a test match.

“It’s time to restore the balance in what is an increasingly more hard environement for the bowlers. #thefrontcrease #belongs to #bothparties @bhogleharsha we will be able to use the same tech that we are proposing for a no ball check 120 balls in a T 20 game.”

This came after the ICC announced that TV umpires would watch front-foot no-balls in ODIs throughout the World Cup Super League, which starts July 30 with the first England v Ireland game in Southampton.

The debate has divided opinion afresh since final year, when in an IPL game, Ashwin, the Kings XI Punjab captain at the time, ran out Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler at the non-striker’s end without delivering the ball. The dismissal sparked off the old debate, with the MCC first deeming the dismissal “valid” and a day later calling it against “the spirit of cricket” because Ashwin had “paused too long” before taking the bails off.

When Twitter users disagreed with Ashwin for asking for alternate penalties, Ashwin replied: “Make the run invalid of that ball or give the bowler a free ball the next one.

“Instead of Disallowing the run, could also be the bowler can get a free ball the very next one where the batsmen has backed up. Some equity to begin off could also be.”

While Ashwin did not clearly define what he meant by “free ball”, it could intent a bowling version of a free hit – no runs allowed, but the batsman can also be dismissed.


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