Zampa, the Melbourne Stars captain, pulled out of his bowling action and dislodged the bails in the final over of Melbourne Renegades’ innings at the MCG on January 3, but his appeal for a run-out against Rogers was turned down by the TV umpire, Shawn Craig, because his bowling arm had already passed the point at which he would “normally have been expected to release the ball”.
The MCC issued a statement soon after the incident, confirming that the umpire’s assessment had been correct, but clarifying that point at which the ball comes into play has long been defined as “the highest point in that bowler’s action”.
It is a point that has now been enshrined in Law 38.3, and which was able to come into immediate effect on January 19 because, MCC added, it did not represent a “material change to the meaning of the Law”.
The new Law 38.3.2 now reads: “Even if the non-striker had left his/her ground before the instant at which the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, once the bowler has reached that point it is no longer possible for the bowler to run out the non-striker under this Law.”
In an accompanying statement, MCC reiterated that the interpretation of the Law had been “consistent for some time” and that “the umpires were correct in their decision”.
“However, we acknowledge that while this Law has generally been understood well by players and umpires, there is ambiguity in the wording which could lead to confusion.
“MCC has therefore moved to change the wording of Law 38.3 to deliver better clarity. The current wording led some to think that if the non-striker left his/her ground before the expected moment of release, then the Run out could happen at any moment, even after the bowler had gone through the bowling action. That was never the intention of this Law, nor the way it was ever interpreted by MCC.
“It is important to note that this does not change the way the Law should be interpreted – it has been interpreted that way for the past six years, without much misunderstanding. However, the intention is that this will make things clearer.”