In response to Sanjay Manjrekar’s old-school idea of scrapping free hits for no balls, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin called for a free ball to restrict the non-strikers’ from leaving the crease early. Ashwin also added that a wicket of that ball will reduce ten runs from the bowlers’ total.
Before the T20 World Cup in 2007, free-hits were not used in World cricket, with no-balls only resulting in an extra delivery and a run. However, the free-hit rule has given the batsmen license to get two deliveries with only one mode of dismissal. Former Indian cricketer turned commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar suggested that ICC should go back to old-school, where there would be no free-hits following no-balls.
“Free hit is a thing I want gone, again terribly unfair on the bowlers. Today with the TV umpire monitoring no balls, a bowler has to be a centimetre over and immediately a string of punishments are meted out,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for Hindustan Times.
“The bowler has to bowl an extra ball, the batter cannot be out to that no ball already bowled and there is also a penalty of one run. To add to that, there is a free hit offered to the batter next ball in which he cannot be out. The penalty is just not commensurate to the ‘wrongful’ act. It’s as if the rule was introduced by a sadist who hated bowlers,” he added.
In response to the former batsman’s tweet, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had a radical idea, to introduce a free-ball that would restrict the early movement of the non-strikers. Ashwin stated that every time a non-striker leaves too early, a free ball should be introduced. On the free-ball, any wicket will reduce ten runs from the bowlers’ analysis.
“Let’s add a free ball for the bowlers every time a batter leaves the non strikers end early, a wicket of that ball will reduce 10 runs of the bowlers analysis and total,” Ashwin wrote on Twitter.
While insisting that the batsmen should only leave after the ball leaves the hand of the bowlers, Ashwin added that free-hit should exist.
“Remember: you are supposed to leave the crease only after the ball leaves the hand,” Ashwin added.