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Hampshire VI Cricket Club


‘USER FRIENDLY’ RULES OF BLIND CRICKET by The Bearded Burbler

Here is a quick run through of the playing conditions for the BCEW cricket league. In no way is this meant to be comprehensive, nor is it intended to replace the BCEW playing conditions or the MCC Laws of Cricket. Instead, it is aimed at being a “user friendly” run through some of the main conditions.


Contents:

General Composition of the Team

Clothing

Substitutes and Runners

A Fielding Substitute

Equipment

The Ball

The Wickets

The Pitch

The Boundary

Protective Helmets and other Equipment

No Balls and Wides

No Balls

Call of ‘Play’

Bounces

High Full Tosses

Bouncers

‘No Ball’ not ‘Dead Ball’

Wides

Catches

The Spirit of the Game


General Composition of the Team

Each team must have at least four B1 players, or a combination of three B1s and one B2 (Low Partial) players, and no more than two B4 players. The remainder of the team can be made up of players from the B1 to B3 categories. No player under the age of 11 may play in the BCEW League or Cup.


It is the responsibility of each captain to nominate their team in writing to the umpires and the opposing captain BEFORE THE TOSS FOR INNINGS. This should include players’ ages (if under 19) and their sight classifications. This team list cannot be altered after the toss for any reason.

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Clothing

All players must wear coloured clothing and each team must be dressed alike. This regulation includes shirts, tops and trousers. If players do not comply with this rule and the opposing captain objects, the offending player must leave the field of play until correctly attired and the game will continue in his absence.


Only the wicket keeper is allowed to wear gloves or any other form of protection on the hand unless they get the express permission of the opposing captain. Such permission should only be granted for medical reasons, such as protecting a cut or stitches.

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Substitutes and Runners

A B1 batsman must have a runner when batting and a B2 (Low Partial) may have a runner if they choose. With the permission of the General Secretary of the BCEW, any other player who has an additional permanent medical condition which would affect his running may also have a runner. Other than this, the umpires will only allow a runner for a player who becomes injured after the start of the game.

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A Fielding Substitute

A fielding substitute is only permitted for a player who becomes injured or incapacitated after the start of the match. This player will not be allowed to bowl or act as wicket keeper. Under no circumstances will the umpires allow a substitute to act as a temporary replacement for a player who is late for the match.

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Equipment

Other than as outlined below the equipment, pitch and outfield used will be the same as used in sighted red-ball cricket.

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The Ball

The ball will be a size 3 Mitre ball with a noise making device as supplied by BCEW. A clean ball shall be used at the start of each innings, and either captain may request a clean ball after 10 overs have been bowled with the old ball. Should a ball burst the umpires will immediately call “Dead Ball” and the ball will be replaced.

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The Wickets

The wickets are slightly larger than sighted red-ball cricket. These may be made up of three stumps fitted into the ground or, more usually, fixed to a supporting base. The base does not act as part of the wicket.

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The Pitch

All matches must be played on prepared cricket pitch with either a grass or artificial surface. This pitch shall measure 22 yards (20.12 metres) in length and 10 feet (3.05 metres) in width. Bowling and batting practice is not allowed either on the pitch or the area directly next to it. Any player who does so will not be allowed to bowl until 1 hour after the contravention or until 30 minutes playing time has elapsed. (Law 17.1)

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The Boundary

The boundary must be clearly marked either by a line, a rope or boundary markers; or a combination. The boundary MUST be between 40 and 50 yards (36.58 and 45.72 metres) from the wickets.

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Protective Helmets and other Equipment

The stump bases are not to be used as helmet storage, neither are the umpires there to be a clothes horse! If a player wishes to remove his helmet it is to be removed from the field of play or placed behind the wicket keeper. If the ball touches this helmet 5 penalty runs will be awarded to the batting side. Equally, the stump bases are not to be used to store sundry items such as drinks. Other than at pre-arranged drinks intervals, drinks are not to be kept on the field of play. If the ball strikes these, again, 5 penalty runs will be given to the batting side. If players wish to keep additional drinks they must leave them outside of the boundary. Should a player have need of medical equipment, such as an inhaler, this should be kept with an umpire.

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No Balls and Wides

There seems to be a great deal of confusion between No Balls and Wides. In sighted red-ball cricket a No Ball is awarded if the bowler delivers a ball illegally; a wide is awarded if a bowler delivers a ball so wide of the batsman that he does not have a reasonable chance of hitting it. In BCEW cricket a wide may also be called for safety reasons (more of that later).

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No Balls

The laws of cricket give many reasons why a ball might be considered an illegal No Ball, the most common being either foot faults or dangerous bowling (bouncers, beamers, etc). In VI cricket these are expanded to include other issues specific to this version of the game.

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Call of “Play”

To enable the batsman to know when the ball is being bowled, the bowler must call “PLAY” at the moment of delivery (not before he bowls or after he has released the ball). Failure to do so is illegal and will be called a “No Ball”.

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Bounces

No delivery is allowed to bounce more than four times or roll along the ground before reaching the batsman. In addition, the ball must bounce a minimum number of times before reaching the batsman, depending upon the batsman’s sight classification and age. These are:


B1, B2 (Low Partial) or Under 16 Player- two bounces

B2 or B3 player - one bounce

B4 - No bounces


If the batsman plays the ball before the required number of times the umpire will not call “No Ball” if he considers that it would have done so had the batsman not hit it.

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High Full Tosses

The laws of cricket consider high full tosses as extremely dangerous and a serious breach of the spirit of the game. It is considered illegal and unfair to bowl a ball so that the ball would have passed above waist height of the batman on the full, unless it is a slow paced delivery. If it is a slow paced delivery the height becomes the shoulders of the batsman. The umpires, AND NOBODY ELSE, are the sole judges of what will be considered a slow delivery.


If this happens the umpires MUST call and signal “No Ball” and caution the bowler for dangerous bowling. If the bowler does it again the umpire MUST call and signal “No Ball” and remove to bowler immediately. After the game the umpires MUST inform both team’s executive and the governing body for the match (in this case the BCEW). It doesn’t matter why the bowler delivered the high full toss, it just matters that they did.

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Bouncers

Bouncers are considered dangerous too. The laws of cricket define such deliveries as a ball which would have bounced over the head of the batsman standing upright. The BCEW will allow one such delivery per over. Any repetition in the same over shall be called “No Ball”.

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“No Ball” not “Dead Ball”

The ball does not become “dead” upon the call of “No Ball” and the batsmen are entitled to hit the ball and score additional runs. Such runs are scored in addition to the one run penalty for the no ball. For example, if a batsman hits a no ball and runs a single, the batsman will get credit for the one run and the No Ball penalty shall count as well, making a total of two runs scored.

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Wides

The umpires shall call “Wide Ball” if they consider that the ball has been bowled so wide of the batsman that the ball cannot reasonably be hit. In such cases the call of “Wide Ball” should only come after the ball has passed the batsman. The ball still remains live and the batsmen may run between the wickets to score runs in addition to the one run penalty for a wide. This is exactly the same as sighted red-ball cricket.


Where things are different with VI cricket is when a wide ball is likely to put the close fielders in danger. Think about the way that most teams set their field, in particular where the B1 fielders stand. They are usually standing very close to the bat and, as they will not be able to see the ball, have no ability to get out of the way or take evasive action. If the umpire considers that any attempt by the batsman to hit the ball is likely to put these fielders in danger he must immediately call “Wide Ball”. In this case the batsman MUST NOT attempt to hit the ball. A ball hit hard into the face (or indeed a more sensitive area!) will be considerably painful, but a swinging bat in the face is likely to cause severe injury indeed. In short, if a “Wide Ball” is called before it arrives at the batsman it is for safety. DO NOT TRY TO STRIKE THE BALL.


If the ball touches a fielder or the batsman touches the ball it is considered dead and no extra runs can be scored. The batsmen can only try to score extra runs if the ball does not touch the batsman or a fielder.

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Catches

For a catch to be considered good the ball must be under the catcher’s control before touching the ground. The ball can still be caught if the ball rebounds off another player, either batsman, the umpire or the stumps. However, the ball cannot be caught if it touches or rebounds of a fielders protective helmet. The ball does not become dead when it hits a helmet, you just can’t take a catch off it.


In addition, B1 players can take a catch if the ball has bounced on the ground once after hitting the bat. Again, the ball may be caught after touching or rebounding off another player, the batsman or the umpire, provided that the ball touches the ground no more than once, that’s fine.

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The Spirit of the Game

The Spirit of the game is something that is extremely important. So much so that the MCC has included it as part of the Laws of cricket since 2000 and this has been endorsed by every governing body worldwide, including the ICC, the ECB and the BCEW. EVERY cricketer should read it in full and fully understand what it says.


This Spirit of Cricket clearly states:

“The captains are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit of the Game as well as within the Laws.”


and:


“In the event of a player failing to comply with instructions by an umpire, or criticising by word or action the decisions of an umpire, or showing dissent, or generally behaving in a manner which might bring the game into disrepute, the umpire concerned shall in the first instance report the matter to the other umpire and the player’s captain, and instruct the latter to take action.”


and:


“It is against the Spirit of the Game:

(a)   to appeal knowing the batsman is not out.

(b)   to advance towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing.

(c)  to seek to distract an opponent either verbally or by harassment with persistent clapping or unnecessary noise under the guise of enthusiasm and motivation of one’s own side.”


Cricket is not just about scoring runs and taking wickets, it is about forging friendships. Those who miss that point never get to receive all that they can through this wonderful game.


Sir Pelham Warner once said: “The very word ‘cricket’ has become a synonym for all that is true and honest. To say ‘that is not cricket’ implies something underhand, something not in keeping with the best ideals.”


Colin Cowdrey said: “Many things have come into the modern game, some good, some bad. One of the worst cancers spreading through our game is that of sledging and gamesmanship. We should all strive to stamp these out, both collectively and individually.”


Ian Botham said: “What do I remember most about my playing days? Not the runs or the wickets, not the victories nor the defeats. Instead, imprinted on my memory are the friends that I made and the friends that I have lost.”



The Bearded Burbler – June 2009

AKA - Pete Marshall


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