At a time when the electronic ‘zing’ bails have attracted much controversy for refusing to come off even after being clipped, the fourth one-dayer between India-A and Sri Lanka-A here on Thursday saw the removal of bails altogether!
Strong gusty winds that blew across the field ensured that the wooden bails — which are said to be much lighter than the ‘zing’ bails — couldn’t be used.
Law 8.5 of the MCC rule book does permit this, allowing the umpires “to dispense with the use of bails, if necessary.” But the rules put the onus on the umpires to decide whether the ball has struck the wicket or not.
Section 29.4.1 says that “after a decision to play without bails, the wicket has been put down if the umpire concerned is satisfied that the wicket has been struck by the ball, by the striker’s bat, person or items of his/her clothing or equipment.”
But it comes with its own challenges, said a senior umpire. “It’s one of the rarest of rare cases. We are used to not having bails in league cricket, but it doesn’t happen much at the First Class level. It is very tough to decide if the ball has hit the wicket. The challenge is when a batsman is bowled and the ball just brushes the stumps. It’s the same with run outs.”