The other night I had a go at Strauss for calling back Mathews after he had run into Graham Onions.
The umpires had told Mathews he was out, but then Strauss gestured to the umpires for him to be brought back on the ground.
I thought it was disgusting behavior.
Last night Strauss redeemed himself.
He didn’t allow Graeme Smith a runner.
Technically, and by technically I mean in the laws of cricket, the fielding team has no say in it. Just like he didn’t technically call back Mathews, he withdrew his appeal. How he did that from 5 metres away with a hand gesture that mimed waiving him back onto the pitch.
It is the umpire’s call on a runner, the umpires clearly didn’t think a runner was the right option, but went to Strauss to see if he cared, he did.
But not for the reasons I thought, “fuck him it is only cramp”, he had an almost theological reason, he doesn’t believe in runners.
Had Smith had a broken leg Strauss probably would have let him have a runner, but for cramp he put his foot down.
I personally don’t think having cramp is a good enough reason for a runner, but now I am drawn by Strauss’ theory to abolish runners altogether.
There are few greater sites than when a batsman gets injured and starts swinging away, it has a gladiatorial feel to it, but then the impish waddle to backward square leg often ruins it for me. If he has to run and deal with the pain on every level that is truly a supreme effort of bravery and heroics. Also, watching Smith trying to run after big heaves really made me feel warm.
But then what about the comical run outs. Sure the hobbling might get a few runs out, but runner’s run outs are great. No one knows where anyone is, the fielders throw to the wrong end, there are 3 batsmen all behind one crease and even the umpires take a few seconds to look around and work everything out.
Do we want that taken from the game?
I don’t know.
I will never agree with cramps getting a runner, and this is from someone who gets massive cramps and has when he was in peak fitness, and now in unpeak fitness.
But to abolish the runner altogether, is that the way to go…