No Ball, No Luck?


Is a batter the recipient of an element of fortune if they are ‘dismissed’ off a no ball?

Me thinks not, hence this article!

I previously scripted an article titled ‘Score Assumptions and Naivety in Sport’. I’m sure that you all remember it well but if the fine details have slipped your memory…

… as you’ll have read, that article touched upon things such as dropped catches and even missed chances in football matches and how people interpret their effect on subsequent passages of play.

This article, ‘No Ball, No Luck’, addresses a similar theme. A batter may be caught off a no ball when on 15 and go onto score 140. The commentator may say something like “The batsman was lucky. He would have been out for 15 if the bowler hadn’t overstepped”.

But would they, would the batter have been out?

Firstly, there’s the possibility that the batter only played the shot because they heard the “No ball” call or saw the umpire raise their arm. It may seem unlikely but top quality batters’ reaction times are superior to us mere mortals.

Secondly, if the delivery is illegal because the bowler has overstepped the mark then the whole trajectory of the subsequent delivery and bat connecting with ball is different to what would have been if the ball had been bowled legally. The part of the pitch that the ball has hit, different by only a few millimetres, may have quite feasibly effected the bounce and swing of the ball. The length of it’s pitch, again varying in millimetres, maybe even centimetres, may have effected whether or not the batter chose to defend, drive, cut, pull, hook, helicopter or whatever.

I don’t perceive that a batter is lucky if they’re ‘out’ to a no ball. The bowler has delivered an illegal delivery which has resulted in a completely different voyage for the ball and result for the batter.

No ball, no luck? Correct, for me there is no luck involved when it comes to a batter being dismissed off a no ball.

Disclaimer: Take note MCC. I’ve gone all Ozzie and gender neutral and have applied the term batter when referring to the wielder of willow!

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