Kieron Pollard’s short run – Is it against the Laws of the game?

A moment of controversy transpired in the game between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium, involving West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard.

With 16 runs required off the final over of the game for MI to register the highest run-chase ever in IPL history, the big West Indian was on strike with Harbhajan Singh at the other end. The first ball was driven down the ground towards long-on, and two runs were picked up. MI got the required result; two runs on the board and Pollard on strike. But the umpire signalled one short. This was not the worst result for the home side as Pollard retained strike and a run was added to the total.

Here is the clip of that run.

Hello there! Was that one run short?

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As you can clearly see, Pollard grounded the bat well short of the crease in his turn to complete the second run, quite possibly on purpose. But what does the law say regarding ‘Short Runs’?

Here is what Point 3,4 and 5 of Law 18 (Scoring runs) states, as mentioned in lords.org:

3. Short runs

(a) A run is short if a batsman fails to make good his ground in turning for a further run.

(b) Although a short run shortens the succeeding one, the latter if completed shall not be regarded as short. A striker setting off for his first run from in front of his popping crease may do so also without penalty.

4. Unintentional short runs

Except in the circumstances of 5 below,

(a) if either batsman runs a short run, the umpire concerned shall, unless a boundary is scored, call and signal Short run as soon as the ball becomes dead and that run shall not be scored.

(b) if, after either or both batsmen run short, a boundary is scored the umpire concerned shall disregard the short running and shall not call or signal Short run.

(c) if both batsmen run short in one and the same run, this shall be regarded as only one short run.

(d) if more than one run is short then, subject to (b) and (c) above, all runs so called shall not be scored.

If there has been more than one short run, the umpire shall inform the scorers as to the number of runs to be recorded.

5. Deliberate short runs

(a) Notwithstanding 4 above, if either umpire considers that either or both batsmen deliberately run short at his end, the umpire concerned shall, when the ball is dead, inform the other umpire of what has occurred. The bowler’s end umpire shall then

(i) warn both batsmen that the practice is unfair and indicate that this is a first and final warning. This warning shall apply throughout the innings. The umpire shall so inform each incoming batsman.

(ii) whether a batsman is dismissed or not, disallow all runs to the batting side from that delivery other than any runs awarded for penalties.

(iii) return the batsmen to their original ends.

(iv) inform the captain of the fielding side and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side of the reason for this action.

(v) inform the scorers as to the number of runs to be recorded.

(b) If there is any further instance of deliberate short running by any batsman in that innings, the umpire concerned shall, when the ball is dead, inform the other umpire of what has occurred and the procedure set out in (a) (ii), (iii) and (iv) above shall be repeated. Additionally the bowler’s end umpire shall,

(i) award 5 penalty runs to the fielding side

(ii) inform the scorers as to the number of runs to be recorded

(iii) together with the other umpire report the occurrence as soon as possible after the match to the Executive of the batting side and to any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and the player or players concerned.

 

Opinion: In an attempt to retain his strike, Pollard may have purposely run short in the first run. There are two points to consider:

1) As you can see above. there is no law that defines the ‘extent of a short run’; a point of ambiguity. It only states ‘in turning for a further run’ and nothing more.

2) Secondly, to decide on whether it is an intentional or unintentional short run. If it is the former, and Pollard has deliberately run short (which seems to be the case), then the umpires are at fault for not picking up the incident. As the law states, they could have given Pollard a warning, and could have even disallowed the one completed run.

You may have your stand regarding this incident, but credit has to be given to Pollard for making use of a possible loophole in the law. Glenn Maxwell has a strong arm, and he could have considered that his chances of getting the strike back, while scoring a run, were better if he ran short. So as far as I’m concerned, he exploited the law (or the lack of it). Some may say unethical, I say shrewd.

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