Saturday, August 1, 2020

Ash tweets on 'no ball' and backing up ~-no one wins a race by running some meters short


What is your impression of    ‘1919’  ~ exactly 101 years ago !!   Ravichandran Ashwin is a genius !  .. .. before you read further, do you know the World record with which - Kesrick Omari Kenal Williams is associated with ?    Born in St Vincent and the Grenadines, this  fast bowler   made his first-class debut for Windward Islands in   2011.

The 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics  were held in Berlin, Germany in Aug  2009. The majority of events took place in the Olympiastadion, while the marathon and racewalking events started and finished at the Brandenburg Gate.  The men's 200 metres   was held at the Olympic Stadium – the  race favourites were Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt. Gay entered the competition as the reigning world champion, championship record holder, and 200 m world leader with 19.58 seconds. Bolt, the current Olympic champion and world record holder, had a season's best of 19.59 seconds. The last time the two athletes raced was at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, where Gay beat Bolt by a margin of 0.15 seconds. Osaka bronze medallist Wallace Spearmon was the only other athlete to run under twenty seconds that season and former Olympic champion Shawn Crawford was also competing. Up-and-coming athletes Alonso Edward, Steve Mullings and Ramil Guliyev were among the season's fastest sprinters prior to the championships.
Everything else was irrelevant .. .. it was Bolt – not only winning but creating a World record.  Bolt's winning time - 19.19* - looks more like a grandparent's year of birth than a time for the 200m, but although it may take a while to digest, that is the WR for more than a decade now.  Former 200m World record-holder Michael Johnson had said earlier on that  day that he felt Bolt was too tired to improve on the record of 19.30. But then again, Bolt does not know the meaning of fatigue. Back in 1996 when Johnson set the world record of 19.32, it was widely acknowledged as one of the toughest records on the books.   But someone winning the race @ 18.90 but being denied the record is totally justified.

The 200 metres (also spelled 200 meters) is a sprint running event. On an outdoor race 400 m track, the race begins on the curve and ends on the home straight, so a combination of techniques are needed to successfully run the race.  The race attracts runners from other events, primarily the 100 metres, wishing to double up and claim both titles. This feat has been achieved by men eleven times at the Olympic Games: by Archie Hahn in 1904, Ralph Craig in 1912, Percy Williams in 1928, Eddie Tolan in 1932, Jesse Owens in 1936, Bobby Morrow in 1956, Valeriy Borzov in 1972, Carl Lewis in 1984, and most recently by Jamaica's Usain Bolt in 2008, 2012, and 2016.  The first record was timing of 20.6 set by Andy Stanfield and every second matters in WR.

This month, American Noah Lyles was denied a new 200 metres world record in the Inspiration Games after it was revealed he ran only 185m. The 22 year-old's time of 18.90 seconds would have usurped the 19.19-second mark set by Jamaican great Usain Bolt in 2009. Lyles, running in Florida, set the time racing alone against competitors simultaneously sprinting on tracks in Europe. Given his personal best is 19.50, the time was immediately challenged. After initial confusion, his official result eventually read "shorter distance" with the American starting from the wrong lane. Swiss television said he had only run 185m. 

How fair it would be give the man a WR when he runs only 185m ie., short by 15m ? – sounds straight and logical – now read what Ravichandran Ashwin has tweeted .. .. on a Cricket rule


Cricket rules have seen changes – there have been attempts to accommodate more than 11 too – remember the substitute rule.  Many of the rules have been blatantly against the bowlers, loaded in favour of batsman.  In some ways, the fall of Windies began with the ‘bouncer rule’.  Can we imagine a rule when a batsman would not be allowed to loft the ball over long on for a Six for a 2nd time in the over ? or denied a square cut more than once in an over – but – a bowler cannot bowl a second bouncer in an over.  In 1991, the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced a "one bouncer per batsman per over" rule in an attempt to discourage use of intimidation.

The ‘No-ball’ has been one of the most dramatic rules in modern cricket history. In a recent Test series between Pakistan and Australia had as many as 21 no balls  went unnoticed. The on-field umpires have a lot to keep their eye on including something as intricate as a field placement- and hence they are missing ! is the explanation.  In Oct 2007 came the ‘free-hit’ rule.    Initially only foot fault no balls resulted in a free hit. From 2015, the rules were changed so that all no balls result in a free hit.

A no-ball is a delivery which does not count as one of the bowler's six legitimate balls in one over.  In Dec 2019, the first Twenty20 International between India and West Indies in Hyderabad   witnessed another push of technological advancement in the game. The auto no-ball, officially introduced for the first time in India, became part of playing conditions for the ongoing series. India won the high scoring game by 6 wickets  as Virat Kohli’s smashed 94 (not out).    Kesrick William’s foot became part of a history as he overstepped and was called   by the Auto no-ball system.  

More on Cricket :  Laws 30 to 39 discuss the various ways a batsman may be dismissed. Law 38: describes  Run out. A batsman is out if at any time while the ball is in play no part of his bat or person is grounded behind the popping crease and his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.  A batsman may be dismissed Run out whether or not a run is being attempted, even if the delivery is a no ball (i.e. not a fair delivery). The rule is very clear in the description “Running out a batsman "backing up".  As a bowler enters his delivery stride, the non-striking batsman usually 'backs up'. This means he leaves his popping crease and walks towards the other end of the wicket so that it will take him less time for him to reach the other end if he and his batting partner choose to attempt a run. When the batsman leaves the popping crease before delivery, the bowler may attempt to run the non-striker out.  This is clearly legal.

The earliest of these type of out involved Vinoo Mankad and occurred during India's tour of Australia on 13 Dec 1947 in the second Test at Sydney. Mankad ran out Bill Brown when, in the act of delivering the ball, he held on to it and whipped the bails off with Brown well out of his crease. The Australian press strongly accused Mankad of being unsportsmanlike, though some Australians, including Don Bradman, the Australian captain at the time, defended Mankad's actions.   After this this type of run out came to be known as ‘Mankaded’. There have been  instances of such outs in Tests and  in One dayers which includes :  Brian Luckhurst by Greg Chappell, England v Australia, Melbourne, 1974-75; Grant Flower by Dipak Patel, Zimbabwe v New Zealand, Harare, 1992-93 and Peter Kirsten by Kapil Dev, South Africa vIndia, Port Elizabeth, 1992-93.

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 explain - on Twitter - how non-strikers, by backing up, could give their team an advantage 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 tough" environment for the bowlers.

The debate has divided opinion afresh since last 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.  While Ashwin did not clearly define what he meant by "free ball", it could mean a bowling version of a free hit - no runs allowed, but the batsman can be dismissed.

Simple logic – a sprinter cannot win a 200M race by winning 10 or 20 M short ! ~ why should a batsman be allowed a run by running couple of yards shorter ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28.7.2020



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