Mumbai. Various batsmen, cutting across country and club lines, have threatened to stop running between wickets altogether and make every match a low-scoring match if ICC went ahead and imposed its ban on runners in cricket. These batsmen, led by Pakistani cricketer Mibah-ul-Haq, have declared that they will execute their “no running” policy from 7th July onwards if ICC didn’t withdraw its “no runner” recommendation by then.
“Remember my batting against India in World Cup semi-final early this year?” Misbah referred to his enigmatic approach while chasing 260 runs posted by India in the knock-out match at Mohali. The Pakistani batsman, now captain of the team, had steadfastly refused to run between the wickets and kept blocking the ball untill the asking rate climbed beyond reach.
“Every batsman will play the game like that; we will refuse singles and doubles and hit only boundaries and sixes, that too far and few and when it’s almost pointless to do so,” Misbah threatened of the future of cricket if ICC went ahead and imposed its “batsman unfriendly” decision.
“We all are with him on this,” Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir, otherwise known to be not on good terms with Pakistani players, extended his unconditional support to the “no running” movement.
The group of batsmen supporting the “no running” movement comprises of almost all known batsman who are either injury-prone or run-out-prone. Sources inform that Indian batsman Rahul Dravid refused to join the group while the group refused membership to West Indian batsman Chris Gayle.
“Dravid thought that the whole movement was ‘stupid’ and he would better concentrate on his batting that included running, while the group thought that Gayle’s inclusion could send ‘wrong signals’ and ICC could impose ‘no running’ rule as well,” a source informed.
Cricket administrators have reacted cautiously to the news with some of them promising to look into the matter.
“I know running might not be enjoyed by many of the batsmen and they’d like to outsource that role to a runner,” ICC chief Sharad Pawar told Faking News, “But they have to understand that on many occasions we have to discharge duties in a role that we may not enjoy that much. See, I’m also Agriculture Minister of India.”
Pawar said that personally he didn’t think running was so important in cricket.
“Even cheerleaders don’t dance after batsmen take a quick single,” he pointed out.
“We could think of introducing rules like the ones in galli (street) cricket or drawing room cricket, where one, two, or three runs are added after the ball crosses a certain distance. This way the batsmen won’t have any cramps or injuries and ‘no runner’ rule could also be implemented,” he said.
The statement by Pawar has reassured some of the protesting batsmen, but a few are still not convinced.
“Have you ever wondered why ‘runners’ are never ‘substitute’ players?” Mohammad Kaif, a professional runner and batsman supporting the movement argued, “It’s because runners don’t ‘substitute’ any cricketing role at all! It’s an independent cricketing role and ICC shouldn’t try to change it. Cricket needs runners!”