How nice was it to hear of two acts of sportsmanship in last week’s matches. 

First a wicketkeeper admitted he had lost the ball when taking the bails off with the batsman out of his ground and then another keeper admitted the batsman wasn’t bowled as he had knocked the bails off himself.  

Well done to those two who know what it means to play within the spirit of the game.

One of the new laws that came into force last year, regarding batsmen damaging the pitch, is causing batsmen and umpires concern at the moment.  

Batsmen must make an effort to get off the pitch as soon as possible when playing the ball or while running.

Obviously there will be some movement around the creases, however a batsman can no longer take his guard so far outside the popping crease that when playing at the ball his feet constantly land in the protected area. 

This is an area formed by a rectangle one foot either side of the centre stump and five feet in front of the popping crease. 

Constantly taking up that sort of stance means damage will be done to the pitch. 

Now that doesn’t stop the batsman advancing down the pitch to play at the ball on the odd occasion, however he must get off the pitch as soon as possible. To do it constantly could mean the umpires have to take action.

What action does the umpire take? 

Well, if he sees the batsman taking an illegal stance before the bowler enters his delivery stride he will call and signal dead ball or if after the batsman has played the ball, he will make a decision as to whether it was allowed or not. 

He will wait until the ball is dead and inform his colleague. 

The umpire at the bowler’s end will warn the striker that this is unfair and tell him that it is a first and final warning which applies throughout the innings so that all incoming batsmen are informed this warning is in place.

If the umpires decide a batsman has transgressed again then all runs are disallowed, a no ball or wide would still be signalled to the scorers if applicable and five penalty runs awarded to the fielding side. 

There follows a report to the governing body who could take action against the captain, player or team as they see fit.

When running, batsmen should run off the pitch. 

Some want to run diagonally across the pitch which could invoke the law being followed and possibly another law being brought into being, obstructing the field. 

If the umpires think the batsmen has deliberately got himself between the bowler and stumps to avoid him being run out from a throw by the bowler then he is out.