Club Cricket Conference

Sunday, 15th December 2019

MCC soon recognise reality of 'dangerous' full toss

By Charles Randall

27 November 2018

The law makers at the MCC have bowed to commonsense by agreeing to ease the absurdly draconian attitude towards "dangerous" full tosses. The new amendment to Law 41.7 will apply from April 1, 2019.

The MCC should be congratulated for acting swiftly to remove the one-size-fits-all aspect.  It took one season to confirm that the bowling of waist-high full tosses happened quite often by accident and that such a delivery could never be deemed dangerous when passing wide of the batsman.

Last summer league organisers were obliged to introduce regulations scrubbing the full toss Law, knowing the reality of novice bowling and low-skill adult cricket.

The Law 41.7.1, as introduced in 2018, stated that "any delivery, which passes or would have passed, without pitching, above waist height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease, is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker."

On the occasion of a second high full toss the bowler must be removed from the attack. Even a wide full toss must be regarded as "dangerous".  What utter nonsense.

But the Law did not stop there. The full force of bureaucracy must be unleashed on the unsuspecting bowler. "The umpires together shall report the occurrence as soon as possible after the match to the executive of the offending side," intones the Law, "and to any Governing Body responsible for the offending side and to any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain, any other individuals concerned and, if appropriate, the team."

All this just because the ball might have slipped out of the hand twice and inconvenienced second slip. Everyone would realise that a beamer likely to hit the batsman is a serious issue whether accidental or not, but the MCC entangled themselves by trying to remove the need for umpire judgement, perhaps forgetting the Laws affected all cricketers and not just professional players. The amendment simply allows the umpire to decide on what is dangerous. Previously the umpire had no choice.

Law 41.7, published a little over 12 months ago, imposed stricter penalties on waist-high full tosses, but the MCC have acknowledged a mis-cue on this. They said:  "Since the Law's introduction, feedback has been received which suggests strongly that the new sanctions were overly severe (especially to younger bowlers). In many cases, governing bodies introduced their own playing conditions that rendered the new Law irrelevant."

"In response to this feedback, the Laws sub-committee has reviewed Law 41.7 and – with the support of the Cricket committee, World Cricket committee and MCC Committee – agreed that it should be adjusted, with effect from April 1, 2019, to allow umpires to make a more subjective decision over which deliveries are dangerous."

The amended Law reads:

41.7 Bowling of dangerous and unfair non-pitching deliveries

41.7.1 Any delivery, which passes or would have passed, without pitching, above waist height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease, is unfair. Whenever such a delivery is bowled, the umpire shall call and signal No ball.

41.7.2 The bowling of a delivery as defined in 41.7.1 is also dangerous if the bowler’s end umpire considers that there is a risk of injury to the striker. In making that judgement the umpire shall:

 disregard any protective equipment worn by the striker
 be mindful of:
 the speed, height and direction of the delivery
 the skill of the striker
 the repeated nature of such deliveries.