Articles

The W. G. Grace question: Laws of cricket must address growth of beards in the modern game

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
Media release
21st July
Contact Keith Flett 07803 162766

Laws of cricket must address growth of beards in the modern game

grace

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the Laws of Cricket must be updated to take account of the significant growth of beards in the modern game.

The campaigners say they have already flagged issues such as what happens when the beards of two players become intertwined and the batsman hits a ball which is caught in the resulting beard weave.

However the BLF says that matters of etiquette and fair play are also being raised.

For example take the case of a batsman with a substantial, W G Grace style beard, and a wicket keeper with a very similar growth of facial hair. A spin bowler delivers a ball which confuses the batsman and ends up in the gloves of the wicket keeper. Yet in the flurry of beards around the wicket the umpires view is obscured and because of the mass of facial hair involved ball tracking technology is not decisive as to whether or not the batsman hit the ball.

The campaigners say that as things stand the batsman’s actions at least might be held to be covered by Rule 42 (2) on Fair and Unfair Play which states in part ‘The umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. If either umpire considers an action not covered by the Laws to be unfair he shall intervene without appeal..’

A concern might be that the batsman had deliberately deployed his beard to obscure the umpires view much as batsman occasionally move their pad when an lbw shout is made.

However as there are many more beards in the game it is surely time for the matter to be clarified and advice given to umpires by Lords.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, it’s what might be called the WG Grace issue but for our times

Asked the question by BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on Test Match Special, umpiring expert John Holder agreed that if the beards of the batsman and wicket keeper had obscured the Umpires’s view, no decision could be reached, and Law 42 might well apply

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