A front-foot ‘No Ball’ is good or bad news depending on whether you are the batsman or the bowler. In limited overs cricket, the bowler suffers even more, because the batsman is awarded a ‘Free Hit’ on the next ball, with the comfort of knowing he cannot get be dismissed, except through a run out. No Balls are awarded for many reasons. But Free Hits are only awarded in the event of front-foot No Balls.
‘For a delivery to be fair in respect of the feet, in the delivery stride
(i) the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease.
(ii) the bowler’s front foot must land with some part of the foot, whether grounded or raised, behind the popping crease.’
Are you aware that the front-foot no ball rule, described above, came into effect as recently as 1969? And can you imagine how this rule has benefited batsmen ever since, even without the free hit award? Had this rule not been there, what do you think a batsman would have done, if a Garner or an Ambrose ran in to bowl? You are right – the batsman would have sought refuge behind the leg umpire. 90 mph is bad enough; 120 mph – the likely result of overstepping by a 6’8 giant– would be murder.
In recent times, there have been calls by cricket writers to go back to the pre-1969 back-foot rule. Apart from the bowler, the front-foot rule is also torture for the umpire, who has to watch both the bowler’s feet, simultaneously. High time, we gave bowlers – and umpires – a break, don’t you think?
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.