International Institute of Cricket Umpiring & Scoring
Change of bowling actionAs a bowler that used to bowl very close to the stumps. On occasions as a right handed bowler my left foot would land twelve inches to the right of the middle stump .Now it is a no-ball if you land beyond an imaginary centre line joining the two middle stumps.
When was this new law introduced and why do they change laws when the old law works perfectly well?
The vast majority of bowlers bowl off their front foot. A right arm bowler, therefore bowls off his left foot. It is accepted that, when a bowler says he will bowl ‘right arm over’, he means that he will run up on the left hand side of bowler’s end umpire and deliver the ball from that side.
The bowler whose front foot lands on the right hand side of the centre of the wicket has delivered the ball from the right hand side and so has, in effect, bowled ‘right arm round’. He is not permitted to do that without first notifying the umpire.
About 20 years ago, a paper was issued by the now defunct ACU&S, with the support of MCC, that covered interpretations of many of the Laws of Cricket. It contained a statement similar to the present Law 24.5, explaining that such action was a change to the bowler’s mode of delivery. The paper was eventually withdrawn; some interpretations had become unnecessary or irrelevant due to changes of Law, others did not fit with the way the game had developed. That withdrawal did not mean that concepts of fairness in respect of bowling around the wicket had changed.
It is common, particularly in recreational cricket, for the sightscreen to be moved if a bowler changes from over the wicket to around it. Batsmen had reported experiencing problems with the ball appearing from ‘outside’ the width of the sightscreen when bowlers stepped across the stumps, so, in 2010, MCC re-wrote Law 24.5 to make it clear that the practice was unfair and unacceptable. It is quite easy to argue that the change was not necessary as it simply states what always was the case, ie, that the bowler should deliver the ball from the side appropriate to his statement of intent – that is to say over or around the wicket. And that has not changed since 1947 – probably even earlier.
The video below explains the change to Law 24.5 in 2010 when you move the time-slide to 4 minutes and 20 seconds
Read more about Law 24.5 (No ball) at the MCC website