Home > Features >

Was Andre Russell’s strategy against Shane Watson legal?

Andre Russell's much discussed bowling antics. Photo Courtesy - Screenshots
Andre Russell’s much discussed bowling antics. Photo Courtesy – Screenshots

On May 5, 2014, Andre Russell had adopted a bizarre strategy to ensure Shane Watson left an ordinary delivery go past him. Abhishek Mukherjee explains why Russell’s action was perfectly legal.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) often comes up with one novelty after another, and of late, most of them have not been the likes of which you would want to discuss with your children. What Andre Russell did the other day was, however, a novelty.

Let us go through the run of incidents:

-  Russell ran in to bowl to Shane Watson. So far, so good.

-  Just before he reached the bowling crease, Russell slowed down, almost pulling out of the run-up.

- Watson obviously fell for it: he backed out, anticipating Russell to go back to his mark.

- Russell, however, continued in a lacklustre ambling motion, eventually delivering the ball.

- A bemused Watson, thoroughly taken aback by the proceedings, was too stunned to react, and saw the ball go past him harmlessly.

It was an ordinary delivery, but a dot ball was obtained thanks to some exceptional thinking (whether planned or impromptu) on Russell’s part. It may or may not have been a well-rehearsed act, but whatever it was, it had its effects. Of course, if used on a consistent basis, batsmen would be smart enough to capitalise on it.

The question to ask is: was Russell’s act legal? Let us go through the laws.

Law 42.4, the closest to Russell’s performance, states: “It is unfair for any fielder deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery.”

Russell was certainly not distracting Watson. What he did was a change in run-up — which is certainly not anything illegal.

No law pertains to the bowler’s run-up, which meant that Mike Procter or Sohail Tanvir (bowling off the wrong foot — though one may argue that a delivery stride is not a part of a run-up), Colin Croft (emerging from behind the umpire at the last moment), Abdul Qadir (no words for it), or Paul Adams (once again, the delivery stride was the part in question) all had justified actions.

Years ago, Mohinder Amarnath had adopted a similar run-up where he almost stopped before delivering the ball. However, that became his regular run-up, so there was no element of surprise when he did that. Russell’s act was different: it was a change of run-up for a single delivery without notifying anyone.

While switching hands or the side of the wicket from where you want to bowl are mandatory to be informed to the umpires, a change in run-up is not. Which is why Russell’s scheme was entirely legal, and to add to that, an extremely cunning and effective one.

Whether it was a sporting act is, however, something that can be debated on. The purists may not have thought too highly of it.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Dubai


Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)


Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos


Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Australia England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes

Phil Hughes passes away: Former England cricketers feels for Sean Abbott

Phil Hughes passes away: Sourav Ganguly expresses grief

Bengal announce 14-member squad for Col CK Nayudu tournament

Phillip Hughes passes away: Sri Lanka Cricket expresses grief

Phil Hughes to be remembered during Australia-England Rugby International

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Kolkata is where Kolkata was

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Yo Yo Honey Singh goes into depression? His whereabouts unknown!

इबोला प्रायोगिक दवा के प्रयोग के नतीजे सकारात्मक आए

Shocking: Priyanka Chopra’s property a part of a sex racket?

Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan to share stage with Rajat Sharma to celebrate 21 years of Aap Ki Adaalat!

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Kanika Maheshwari aka Meenakshi of Diya Aur Baati Hum: Gautam needs to control his anger a little

सुपरमॉडल केट का क्रिसमस के लिए ब्यूटी टिप्स

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here