THE last thing an umpire wants to see on the field of play is a batter pulling up suddenly clutching his hamstring.
Obviously, there is concern for him but going through the umpire’s mind is the possibility a runner may be required and the things to do associated with it.
This must have been going through the minds of the umpires at the game I was watching. A runner is allowed if the umpires are certain the injury is affecting the batter in running and that it happened during the match.
The runner has to be a member of the batting side who preferably has batted. If not possible, then it cannot be the next man in to bat. He must wear external protective equipment equivalent to that of the injured batter and carry a bat. That means, helmet, pads, gloves and arm guard if worn. The runner cannot be changed unless the umpires give their consent, so a tired runner cannot be changed for a fresh one unless there are no other possibilities. The problem for the umpires and runner is where everyone stands. When on strike, the injured batter is okay. His runner is stood at square leg while the umpire is at point. The umpire has to see where the runner is at all times. The last thing an umpire wants to see is the runner ending up behind him, so there is plenty to think about in moving when a run is to be scored.
When not on strike, the injured batsman stands next to the umpire and keeps out of the way. Once the ball comes into play, the runner at the striker’s end has to remain with some part of his person or bat behind the popping crease until the ball passes the striker or passes the popping crease – whichever is sooner. This is to stop the runner trying to take advantage of gaining a quick single having left the crease early. If this happens, the umpires shall call ‘dead ball’ when play has ceased. The umpire doesn’t call dead ball straight away because the fielding side still has the opportunity of taking a wicket. Once the ball is dead the umpires will disallow all runs other than other penalties, for example a no-ball, and return the batters to their original ends and award five penalty runs.
Umpires have plenty to think about if a batter becomes injured and a runner is allowed.