From the Viewsroom

Let the LBW rule stand

Venky Vembu | Updated on May 12, 2020 Published on May 13, 2020

Ian Chappell’s proposal for a tweak of cricket rules is best left alone

Australian cricketer Ian Chappell’s suggestion to amend the rule governing ‘leg before wicket (LBW)’ dismissals echoes, in spirit, another Oz sporting legend’s recommendation for livening up the game. Just as Don Bradman had, at the height of the Bodyline series in the 1930s, favoured a tweak of the LBW rule to disincentivise dour ‘pad play’ by defensive batsmen, Chappell has called for changing the law in a way that would reward stump-attacking bowlers — and very likely induce “screams of horror” from “pampered batsmen”. According to Chappell, “The new LBW law should simply say: ‘Any delivery that strikes the pad without first hitting the bat and, in the umpire’s opinion, would go on to hit the stumps, is out regardless of whether or not a shot is attempted’.” Currently, batsmen cannot be adjudged LBW to balls pitched outside the leg stump.

Some of the reasons Chappell advances in defence of his proposal have merit: the blanket immunity that batters enjoy against LBW from balls pitching outside the leg stump is unfair. And discouraging ‘pad play’, Chappell suggests, will incentivise attacking batsmanship and make the game more lively.

Cricket’s rules are always being mutated: the LBW rule has undergone many iterations. And although the advent of technology has made for better umpiring, there are still elements of the rules that confound. As with most things in the world, cricket is not without imperfections. Even so, the case for embracing Chappell’s proposal is weak. As cricket statisticians note, Test cricket (where match-saving ‘pad play’ is more common) is no longer entirely a batsmen’s game: of 39 Test matches played last year, 35 produced results; four others were rain-affected. Over 65 per cent of Tests concluded in under four days. Test cricket no longer needs to be souped up with rule tweaks to ‘save’ it from boredom. Like an outswinging delivery tempting a batsman to nick, Chappell’s proposal is best left alone.

The writer is Associate Editor with BusinessLine

Published on May 13, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.