‘To hell with spirit of game’, says Hardik about non-striker run-outs

Star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is fine with bowlers running out batters that are backing up far at the non-striker’s end and said that “we need to stop making a fuss about this”.

Earlier this March, the MCC had de-stigmatised running non-strikers out by shifting the move of a player being run out by the bowler while backing up from Law 41 (which deals with unfair play) to Law 38 (which deals with run-outs) in its recent update.

Since October 1, these kinds of dismissals no longer sit in the ‘unfair play’ section of its rule book. However, the cricket world is still debating whether such dismissals are against the ‘spirit of the game’.

“We need to stop making a fuss about this. It’s a rule — [as] simple as that. To hell with the spirit of the game. If it’s there, [then] remove the rule — as simple as that. The ones who have a problem, good for them; it’s fine,” Hardik said in an ICC Review Podcast, recorded before the start of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“Personally, I have no problem. If I am walking out [of the crease], and someone runs me out — fair enough. It’s my mistake, not the bowler’s. He is taking the rules to his advantage — [as] simple as that. That’ll not make a big deal,” he added.

The debate surrounding the spirit of cricket and the fairness of such a dismissal was reignited last month when Deepti Sharma ran Charlie Dean out at Lord’s in the deciding ODI of the series between England and India.

England were nine down and needed 17 off 39 balls when Deepti flicked the bails off to catch Dean short, giving India a historic 3-0 clean sweep win.

Recently, Australia pacer Mitchell Starc suggested umpires use on-ground cameras to make “short-run” calls if the non-striker tries to gain an advantage.

Starc spoke after informally warning Jos Buttler about the England batter leaving the non-striker’s end before he released the ball. The left-arm bowler felt that docking the batting side a run in such circumstances would leave “no grey area”.

“Every time the batter leaves the crease before the front foot lands, dock them a run. There’s no grey area then,” Starc had said.

“And in T20 cricket where runs are so handy at the back end and games can be decided by one, two, three runs all the time, if all of a sudden you get docked 20 runs because a batter’s leaving early, you’re going to stop doing it, aren’t you?” he added.

Notably, India spinner R. Ashwin has been vocal about promoting the use of the dismissal, having run Buttler out the same way in an IPL game in 2019.




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