Edenbridge Cricket Club - Laws of Cricket

The Laws of Cricket by the MCC have been updated from 1 October 2017.

A full copy of the new Laws is here: MCC-Laws-of-Cricket-2017.doc .  The MCC has also produced (lengthy) summary of the main changes: Law-Summary-Paper.pdf.  A somewhat briefer summary of the changes is set out below.

The MCC has a very good section on its website on the laws, including videos explaining some of the laws.  This includes an excellent e-learning programme, which takes you through each law in turn with questions at the end to test understanding.   It is very thorough - but also takes time.  Each law will take about 10-20 minutes to go through (and Law 41 on Unfair Play takes much longer).  At the end you can take either a basic (30 minute) or intermediate (40 minute) multiple choice exam and get a nice certificate.   Yes - they do say "exam" on the website...  Well worth doing, although the parts on when you can take lunch early or how long a player has to be back on the field before they can bowl again may not be that relevant to us....     

Alternatively, there is ECB Association of Cricket Officials Occasional Umpire Resource .  This takes about 30 minutes to complete and is aimed at players umpiring for 5-10 overs at the weekend.   But possibly a bit too simplistic compared with the MCC course.

Main changes to the Laws introduced from 1 October 2017.  

1.         No Ball

It is a No ball if the ball bounces more than once before reaching the popping crease

2.         Byes and leg byes

Byes and Leg byes off a No Ball are now credited as such rather than as a No ball extras.

For example: if a No ball goes for 4 leg byes, it will be recorded as one No ball extra and 4 leg byes. 

Umpire will signal: No Ball, Leg Bye, Boundary 4.

This change only applies to a No Ball.  A Wide going to the boundary is still 5 Wides.

3.         Batsman out of his/her ground

A batsman will be in his/her ground if:

  • the batsman grounds the bat (held by the hand)  and
  • has continued forward momentum towards their ground, (ie are running / diving).

For example, a batsman dives for his/her ground, and grounds their bat beyond the popping crease.  The bat bounces up at which point the wicket is broken by the fielder.  This is now not out.

4.         Handled the Ball

Handling the ball is still a dismissal.  But the rule is now part of Law 37 Obstructing the Field.  

5.         Catches

A batsman can be caught after it strikes a helmet worn by a fielder or wicket-keeper.  This includes if the ball becomes lodged in the helmet.

(And run-outs and stumpings can also now occur when the ball directly rebounds from a helmet worn by a keeper or fielder.)

6.        Fair and unfair play – Deliberate attempt to distract the striker (Law 41.4)

There is now no warning: any deliberate distraction of the striker before or as he/she faces a penalty, will mean 5 penalty runs being awarded.

7.         Fair and unfair play – Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of  batsman after the striker has received the ball (Law 41.5)

The wording of this law has been amended to cover “mock” fielding, where a fielder feigns to throw a non-existent ball in an attempt to prevent the batsmen running.

8.         Fair and unfair play – Dangerous and unfair bowling (41.6-41.8)

Non-pitching deliveries

For non-pitching deliveries, all deliveries which pass above waist height of the striker are now dangerous and unfair.  (Previously, slow bowling had to be above shoulder height.) 

First occasion - Warning

  • Call and signal No Ball
  • Caution the bowler with a first and final warning
  • Inform the other umpire, the captain of the fielding side and the batsmen

Second occasion - Suspension

  • Call and signal No Ball
  • When the ball is dead, direct the captain of the fielding side to suspend the bowler immediately from bowling.  (The over is to be finished by another bowler).
  • Inform the other umpire and the batsmen and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side.

If the non-pitching delivery is considered to be deliberately bowled by umpire then there is no warning, it is an immediate suspension.

Bowling of deliberate front-foot No ball

As with a deliberate non-pitching delivery, there is no warning and the bowler will be immediately suspended.

9.         Running out the non-striker

Previously the non-striker could be run out before the bowler entered his/her delivery stride.  This has been changed, so the bowler is permitted to run-out the non-striker up to instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball.

The MCC has been clear in its blog on the rules that it is the non-striker who is  taking an unfair advantage

Do not expect a warning to be given first!


10.      Players’ conduct – Law 42

There are four levels of offences:

Level 1

Warning then 5 penalty runs for a repeat offence

Eg wilfully mistreating any part of the ground or equipment

Showing dissent

Obscene, offensive or insulting language

Appealing excessively

Level 2


5 penalty runs

Eg serious dissent

Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with another player

Throwing the ball at a player or umpire in an inappropriate & dangerous manner.

Level 3


Offending player suspended for a number of overs plus 5 penalty runs.


Intimidating an umpire

Threatening to assault a player or any other person (but not an umpire)


Level 4


Offending player removed for the rest of the match plus 5 penalty runs.

Eg Threatening to assault an umpire

Physically assaulting a player or any other person.