Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Finn's stump clipping may result in new law

Steven Finn's bowling action in England's T20 win over New Zealand may also result in a new law. Photo / Getty Images.
Steven Finn's bowling action in England's T20 win over New Zealand may also result in a new law. Photo / Getty Images.

Cricket has always had a knack of creating idiosyncracies which require new laws; think Bodyline, Mankading or Hawkeye.

Steven Finn's bowling action in England's T20 win over New Zealand may also result in a new law.

Finn produced the bowling performance of the match, taking three for 16 from his four overs. His wickets included Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum in the six-over powerplay, followed by Ross Taylor. However, his efforts were tainted by inadvertently breaking the stumps with his knee three times during delivery.

The current law (which was decided pre-tournament in meetings between the International Cricket Council, team managements and captains) says the first time such an accident occurs should be exonerated; any subsequent stump upsets result in dead balls.

The law is designed to help the batsman because of the supposed distraction any dismantling of the opposing stumps creates during delivery.

Last night it became evident the law needs to change.

In his second over, Finn bowled what would have been a leg side wide but because the stumps were broken he got a reprieve. Brendon McCullum's dismissal followed next ball.

Finn repeated the trick to Kane Williamson in his third over as Williamson worked him for a probable two, wide of mid on. The stunt had become tiresome by the third occurrence when James Franklin timed a ball through the covers for four, only to have it retracted.

Finn then had the temerity to strike Franklin in the groin next delivery. In summary, New Zealand missed out on seven possible runs (and maybe more given an extra ball would be bowled for the wide). While that might seem relatively minor - and not enough to influence the match - it would have resulted in an uproar if the likes of Franklin had been hitting the winning runs in a tight situation.

The escapade begged the question: why does there need to be a replay? The batting side should never be penalised for such mishaps. They should simply be ruled "no ball" which places the onus on the bowler to sort the problem. Also, if there was a run out attempt, the fielding team would need to remove and tap a stump with the ball (as per the laws); not an easy task.

Under the current law Finn could have taken a wicket on the first occurrence with no dead ball, then proceeded to do it when the opposition racked up boundaries.

New Zealand captain Ross Taylor advocated moving to a type of advantage law: "The trouble at the moment is that it is a rule for one person [the bowler]. Unless the batsman gets out, play should be allowed to go on. It should only be a dead ball once a wicket happens."

England captain Stuart Broad defended his teammate but agreed the issue needs addressing.

"That's the only time it's worked for us to be fair. Obviously Finny's got to try to stop doing it. Today New Zealand were quite unlucky but it could also have cost us a wicket.
"I don't know where it's come from; it hasn't been an issue previously. It's just this summer when he jumps in a little bit with his action. It's not unusual for bowlers to clip their hands on the stumps but this is different."

Andrew Alderson flew to the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka courtesy of Emirates Airline (www.emirates.com/nz).

- Herald on Sunday

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