The Bairstow rules: Dusty old Laws of Cricket get rewritten so everyone plays in the right ‘Spirit’ according to Jonny


On the back of Jonny Bairstow claiming that stumping a batter out of their crease when they assume the ball is dead is something that “wouldn’t even enter my mind”, it’s time for the dusty old Laws of Cricket to get a makeover.

Applying the Bairstow touch to uphold the mystical “Spirit of Cricket” is the only fair way of ending this uneasy standoff between Australia and England.

Tensions have been simmering since Alex Carey callously followed the Laws of Cricket by exploiting his opponent’s carelessness in wandering from his crease. 

The fact that Bairstow employed a similar tactic as a young county wicketkeeper in 2014 and had a ping at the stumps while standing back earlier in the same Test as Carey at Lord’s to try to catch Marnus Labuschagne short of his ground has been conveniently overlooked by the English keeper. 

Let’s also not bring up any mention of England coach/Bazball revolutionary thinker Brendon McCullum running out Muttiah Muralitharan back when he was the New Zealand wicketkeeper while the Sri Lankan tailender left the safety of the crease to celebrate his batting partner’s hundred before the ball was officially dead. 

Well, well, what’s all this then?

Some interesting footage has surfaced of Jonny Bairstow waiting for a batter to lift his back foot before initiating a stumping in a County Championship game!

— ????Flashscore Cricket Commentators (@FlashCric) July 4, 2023

“You want young kids to be out there batting and having fun, not thinking about whether the fielders might do this or that,” said Bairstow in his interview with author Nick Hoult at the end of the Ashes that were released this week in an excerpt published by the UK Telegraph for the upcoming book “Bazball: The inside story of a Test Cricket Revolution”. 

Good to see that Helen Lovejoy is not the only one begging for somebody to please think of the children. 

On top of claiming sneaky stumpings were not his go despite a couple of glaring examples of video evidence to the contrary, Bairstow also accused the Australians of claiming unfair catches for a few line-ball decisions that were sent to the third umpire.

There was no mention of the fact that his captain Ben Stokes elected to use a video review after he blatantly fumbled the ball with a premature celebration from a chance off Steve Smith. 

Out or not out? ????‍ #EnglandCricket| #Ashes

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 31, 2023

The ethereal Spirit of Cricket somehow was nowhere to be found when Stokes tried to con the third umpire into thinking he had maintained control of the ball before his Herschelle Gibbs impersonation.

So after an emergency meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s rules committee, the Bairstow amendments of 2023 have been recommended to the ICC executives to be adopted for all modes of dismissal from this point on.

The Bairstow Rules

Law 32: Bowled The striker is out Bowled if his/her wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler, not being a No ball, even if it first touches the striker’s bat or person.

Proposed amendment: Little Jonny will be deemed not out unless at least two stumps are fully dislodged out of the ground.

Law 33: Caught The striker is out Caught if a ball delivered by the bowler, not being a No ball, touches his/her bat without having previously been in contact with any fielder, and is subsequently held by a fielder as a fair catch, as described in 33.2 and 33.3, before it touches the ground.

Proposed amendment: Any time an Australian player claims a catch they now must have both hands and at least one foot off the ground for the duration of the catching movement. English fielders are able to claim a catch after clearly dropping it and not be accused of breaching the spirit of cricket even if they churlishly use gamesmanship to hoodwink the third umpire.

Law 34: Hit The Ball Twice The striker is out Hit the ball twice if, while the ball is in play, it strikes any part of his/her person or is struck by his/her bat and, before the ball has been touched by a fielder, the striker wilfully strikes it again

Proposed amendment: This hardly ever happens so it might as well be erased from the book but if anyone wearing a green and gold helmet and/or cap then the full force of the law and perhaps deportment back to the colonies will be considered appropriate punishment to maintain the Spirit of Cricket.

Law 35: Hit Wicket The striker is out Hit wicket if, after the bowler has entered the delivery stride and while the ball is in play, his/her wicket is broken by either the striker’s bat or person

Proposed amendment: If Jonny accidentally knocks the bails off in the act of playing a shot, the ball will be declared dead because he probably thought the umpire had called over. 

Law 36: Leg Before Wicket The striker is out LBW if the ball, if it is not intercepted full-pitch, pitches in line between wicket and wicket or on the off side of the striker’s wicket and but for the interception, the ball would have hit the wicket.

Proposed amendment: Any Australian player who places either leg in front of the wicket at any time while on strike shall be deemed out, on appeal from anyone wearing keeping gloves and an England cap, irrespective of whether the ball strikes them on the pads or not.

Law 37: Obstructing the Field Either batter is out Obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, and while the ball is in play, he/she wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.

Proposed amendment: All Australian batters will be required to run around any and all English fielders while running between the wicket and are encouraged to address their opponents as “sir” as they politely beg for permission to be able to reach the crease. 

Any batter or non-striker who is in Jonny’s peripheral vision when he fumbles a catch will be given out Obstructing the Field with no right to appeal

Law 38: Run out Either batter is out Run out if, at any time while the ball is in play, he/she is out of his/her ground and his/her wicket is fairly broken by the action of a fielder even though No ball has been called.

Proposed amendment: Little Jonny can yell “safe” as he’s making his way to the crease a la backyard rules. If the umpire doesn’t hear his declaration of safety and the fielding team appeals for a dismissal, the batter receives the benefit of the doubt.

Law 39: Stumped The striker is out Stumped if a ball which is delivered is not called No ball and  he/she is out of his/her ground and he/she has not attempted a run when his/her wicket is fairly put down by the wicket-keeper without the intervention of another fielder. 

Jonny Bairstow looks frustrated after being dismissed by Alex Carey. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Proposed amendment: The above rules do not only apply when Jonny has decided the ball is dead, which is up to him and not the fielding side or either umpire. He thereby has permission to wander aimlessly out of his crease even though the umpires have not called over and/or if the keeper has thrown the stumps down as soon as he had received the delivery.

Law 39.1 proposed amendment: The reverse of this amendment shall apply if Marnus Labuschagne is out of his crease, then it’s totally fair for Little Jonny to have a ping. Or if it happens in a county game that you thought everyone had forgotten about.

Law 40: Timed Out After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 3 minutes of the dismissal or retirement.

Proposed amendment: If Jonny needs a few extra minutes of kip before batting after an exhausting day in the field shelling catches then the umpires will grant him as much time as he needs. Don’t you dare wake him during nap time, he gets awfully grouchy.

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