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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Runner might be required in odd case: Williamson on Maxwell’s tortuous innings

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Bengaluru: Reviving the debate over an ICC rule of not allowing a runner for injured batsmen, New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson said by and large it has not really been an issue, but perhaps in an odd case the runner might be required.

“Yeah, I haven’t actually thought too much about that. I don’t sort of believe it’s been too much of an issue over the years that we have been playing without runners. And it certainly made Glenn (Maxwell) flick a switch in a way that was quite special.

“Yeah, I mean it’s not something that I guess I can really speak to except for perhaps you see the odd case where it might be required, but ultimately by and large it’s not really been an issue I don’t think,” he told reporters replying to an UNI query on the eve of New Zealand and Sri Lanka match here on Wednesday.

Williamson responded when he was asked to comment on the “inhuman” ICC rule of not allowing a runner to Australia’s Glenn Maxwell who suffered from cramps in the match against Afghanistan in Mumbai yesterday.

Maxwell played an innings of his life by belting a match-winning double century as he neared his 150-run mark. Maxwell was writhing in pain with cramps, and at one point of time he even struggled to stand on his feet.

Australia did not wanted to lose Maxwell, retired hurt at that point of time, when their chances of victory completely banked on him, with only Pat Cummins and the tailenders to follow.

Providing a runner to the injured batsman was done away with in 2011 by the ICC’s Executive Committee in ODIs with an explanation on what constituted field obstructions in the game.

Back then, legendary batsman and renowned commentator Sunil Gavaskar had heavily come down on the amended ICC rule by suggesting that no water should be served to the bowlers at the boundary.

Gavaskar also argued that if the injured batsmen are not worthy of getting a runner, then the concept drinks break and substitute fielders also should be done away with.

He also contended that if an injured fielder goes off the field, then a substitute fielder should not be allowed to take the field, so that the batting side is not the only one affected.

Speaking about Maxwell’s innings, Williamson said it was an incredibly special knock and without a doubt one of the great World Cup victories for Australia.

“Yeah, an incredibly special knock. Yeah, not just obviously the runs specifically but the situation and he was clearly struggling physically and to be able to pull that off and in a partnership with Pat Cummins is without a doubt one of the great World Cup victories for Australia and probably for any team to witness,” he said.

In the same breath, Williamson lauded Afghanistan’s efforts and cautioned teams that game changes quickly in white-ball cricket.

“At the same time, a tough one for Afghanistan. They have been excellent and, you know, probably won, sort of 80 per cent – 90 per cent of that game. And as we know in white ball cricket, it can change quickly. And that was an amazing example of that and a special knock to watch,” he said.

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