We play in the Worcester County League and the league has no specific rules governing run out’s and therefore we must adhere to the “laws of cricket”. My query came as a result of a recent league game in which the following situation arose, we would be grateful if you could clarify this point for us.
Our bowler had observed the opposition batsman backing up well out of his ground whilst running up for delivery. The batsman was out of his ground well before the bowlers delivery stride and so noticing this took the bails off (there was no appeal at this time, but a warning given to the batsman). The very next delivery the exact same thing happened, the batsman had left his ground during the bowlers run up but before his delivery stride and so he took off the bails and appealed. The decision was given not out (there was no official umpire standing and the umpire present did not seem to be clear on the rules), we made the point as per law 38. 2b. regarding run outs which makes the point that as long as the bowler has not yet entered his delivery stride he is free to run the batsman out.
“38.2b – Notwithstanding 1 above, a batsman is not out Run out if - (b) the ball has not subsequently been touched again by a fielder, after the bowler has entered his delivery stride, before the wicket is put down.”
As you can see it makes no mention of the state of play before the delivery stride, i.e., during the run up so we must assume rule 23.4 applies here also.
23.4. Ball ceases to be dead
The ball ceases to be dead - that is, it comes into play - when the bowler starts his run up or, if he has no run up, his bowling action.
So taking into account these rules the batsman was indeed out?
Their argument was to claim that a new rule had been introduced for the 2007 season regarding this issue and that the batsman was free to leave his ground without being liable to be given run out. Is this true? I have not heard nor can find any evidence of such a rule change, if indeed this rule does exist would it not only apply to county championship (for example, if it had been introduced there). Where could I find a list of rule changes that would apply to all cricket for the 2007 season?