Mitchell Starc calls for short-run penalty if non-striker strays out of crease

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc has provided an inventive solution to tackle the problem of non-strikers leaving their crest too early, suggesting that umpires use cameras on the ground to make “short-run” calls when the non-strikers striker tries to gain an advantage.
The debate over the spirit of cricket and the fairness of such a dismissal was rekindled last month when Deepti Sharma ousted Charlie Dean for standing behind the non-attacker at Lord’s.
Starc himself has recently been in the spotlight on the matter, after informally warning Jos Buttler about the English batter’s tendency to leave the non-striker end before releasing the ball. Starc now believes that a batting run in such circumstances would leave “no gray area.”

“Why not take it out of the hands of the interpretation and make it black and white?” Starc told The age and The Sydney Morning Herald. “Any time the batter leaves the crease before the front foot lands, put him in a run. There’s no gray area then.

“And in T20 cricket where runs are so handy at the back and games can be decided by one, two, three runs all the time, if you suddenly get 20 runs because a batter leaves early, you’re going to quit, aren’t you?

“It’s harder to lower the levels of cricket, but especially in international cricket there will always be cameras for the front foot and for the run-outs. So why not? And if it’s the batters think about it – or prevent it from happening – isn’t that a good thing?”

Starc said umpires ruling on the penalty for the batting side would spare bowlers from toying with the idea of ​​continuing with such layoffs.

“Then there’s no stigma,” Starc said. “It’s taken away from the decision to have to run someone out or think about it. If it’s blatant it’s a different story, but I feel like at least that’s completely black and white.”

Starc also revealed that prior to the recent incident involving Buttler, he had to warn many New Zealand batters during the ODI series between the two sides earlier this year.

“I have often warned batters, [Buttler] isn’t the first time,” said Starc. “I probably warned seven Kiwi batters in those ODI games at the top — some were six feet outside their crease. As I said to Jos, I would never see myself doing it [running a non-striker out]but it doesn’t mean you should feel free to leave your fold sooner.”

Bowlers like R Ashwin have spoken out about promoting the use of the sacking after they similarly dismissed Buttler in an IPL match in 2019. Buttler was even similarly sacked, even against Sri Lanka in 2014, when Sachitra Senanayake’s jumps away at the end of the non-rush hour to get Buttler short in their ODI series decider at Edgbaston.
Knocking out a non-striker has traditionally been one of cricket’s most controversial and divisive topics. In the past, bowlers who practiced running out of non-strikers — like West Indian Keemo Paul, for example, during an Under-19 World Cup — have stepped back after being criticized for their decision.

Following Deepti’s decision to expel Dean, the MCC has proactively pushed to destigmatize the form of dismissal by amending the law books and emphasizing its legitimacy. While some bowlers choose to warn non-strikers before actually breaking the stumps, a bowler is not required by law to do so.

The MCC has done this by shifting the movement of a player knocked out by the bowler from Law 41 (which deals with unfair play) to Law 38 (which deals with overrunning) in its recent update.

“The bowler is always portrayed as the bad guy, but it’s a legitimate way to fire someone, and it’s the non-striker who steals the ground,” Fraser Stewart, the MCC Laws Manager, told the Time in March 2022. “It’s legit, it’s a runout and that’s why it should live in the runout part of the laws.”

In the past, bowlers have tackled the idea of ​​performing a runout at the end of the non-striker differently. Dean herself, a day after she went that way, found humor to warn non-strikers without actually going through with the layoff.