Batsmen not allowed runners in international cricket

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This scene was recreated two minutes later, only with far more finger pointingThis is a sad development. The ICC have said that batsmen are no longer allowed to have someone run on their behalf when they get injured or suffer cramp or forget to bring the right shoes.

The runner serves a valuable purpose in cricket. He helps create the misunderstandings that give us the most entertainingly slapstick run-outs.

Run-outs are almost always hilarious. Watching professionals make a complete balls of the simple task of deciding whether to do something or not is funny; the ramifications afterwards are funnier still; and when there are three people involved and one of them has been hung out to dry by not one, but two of his team mates – well that’s just pure comedy gold.

Runners are never an advantage. The appearance of a runner is basically just an early warning system so that people don’t miss a memorable piece of rib-tickling theatre.

Update: We’ve written summat else about runners for Cricinfo.


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  1. Disappointing news. The ICC has clearly not properly understood the benefits of the suggestion I sent to them last Thursday – that all nine “spare” players should be runners throughout the entire innings, five from one end, four from the other, at a stroke combining the best aspects of cricket with the best aspects of British Bulldog. The second part of my suggestion – that the PA should play the Benny Hill music as soon as a run was attempted – would have further enhanced the game’s standing on the world stage. Missed opportunities.

    1. Great thinking, Bert.

      Not for tests, obviously, but once the allure of T20 starts to fade, it will be ideas like yours that will make the T10 era a legend that will last a lunchtime.

  2. Its ridiculous..I mean what are the ppl drafting these rules thinking? Runners are pure entertainment… Cant forget how the docile VVS Laxman raised his bat at Pragyan Ojha during the Ahemedabad test last year when he nearly ran him out when India was almost at the brink of victory.. Wasn’t that one of the vivid images that the News channel kept telecasting,even dissecting how could someone like VVS lose his cool..Its simple..When a players is called in as a runner he just runs without thinking what is the situation..Sometimes this makes cricket more interesting to watch coz of the stupidity of the runner.. also my argument would be what if a fielder gets injured(say a hamstring pull,ankle twist)..What then?? Will they allow substitute fielder ?? They shouldn’t if they have to put the game in balance…Imagine this when the batsmen are injured but they have 3-4 agile fielders ..That would be blasphemy!!!I think ICC has thrown the debate wide open but guess we will have to bear to see a batsman limping,dragging almost crawling to the other end if he gets injured and the match is balance

  3. More classic comments on cricinfo, what’s not to like about “If this humour, then sehwag has the best hairstyle on earth”

  4. What about having lay members of the public with no vested interest in the game, or the sport, as runners. Like jury duty.

  5. CA mgt put forward the original suggestion to be shot of runners. They said that as they had provided themselves with Shane Watson, there is no reason that everyone else has to have an extra runner to **** things up.

  6. Why is this bad? Running is an important component of batting, and it is the batsman’s responsibility to do it. Given the hectic schedule, it is inevitable that many batsmen pick up injuries and might still be tempted to play, banking on a runner after they have scored a few runs. There is no way to tell if a player cramped up during batting or whether he merely aggravated an existing injury.

    Also the sight of runners in cricket has become altogether common. I don’t remember anyone running for Gavaskar or Richards. As it is batsmen have short boundaries, field restrictions, fuck-all pitches, and crazy-strong bats. Let the assholes do their own running at the least. Or get the hell out of the ground. I applaud the ICC.

  7. I think runners should go a step further into amateurishness. Have a pair of weighing scales bethwart the turnstiles as spectators enter. In the event of injury, the batsman may ask for a runner, but it will be the fattest person in the crowd. Or Samit Patel.

    1. The bizarre thing about that idea is that it would please everybody. We get comedy, but batsmen won’t take advantage of runners unjustifiably.

      And fat people love being made into figures of fun.

    2. Cabbages.

      Just like on Double or Drop. For each run the runner makes he is given a cabbage which he has to carry for the rest of his tenure. Then a new Law is introduced:

      Law 98 – Out Dropping a Cabbage
      If a batsman has a designated runner, as allowed under one of the other rules somewhere in here, Law 19 or something like that, you can look it up, that batsman shall be given out if the runner while out of his ground drops one of the cabbages. Law 67 (Allowable Salad Dressings) shall continue to apply.

  8. They can have a runner, so long as it’s me. They’ll soon change their minds…

  9. In a school game when I was 12, I came on as a runner for an older boy. The bastard made a century, and I must have run at least 70 of those runs. In the Indian heat. With adult-sized pads. And not a word of appreciation at the end of the innings.

    I wonder to this day why I didn’t run him out before he crossed 10.

    1. This thread gets better and better. You’ve given me a new idea:

      A runner shall be allowed, but only if it is someone who thinks the batsman he is running for is a pompous oaf who needs bringing down a peg or two.

      What you have to imagine here is, as an example, King Cricket running for Matthew Hayden. I’d pay double.

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