Understanding the rules for a no ball is important in cricket. Many of us are aware that a no ball is given when a bowler oversteps the bowling crease or when the ball bowled is too high for the batsman to hit. However, the rules of a no ball are not limited to just these situations! Thus, in today’s post, we are going to look at the various reasons or situations when a no ball can be given by an umpire!
A No Ball in Cricket is a delivery that is NOT considered as one of the six legitimate deliveries that a bowler needs to bowl to complete an Over. The penalty for a No Ball is 1 run. In the shorter formats of cricket, a Free Hit usually follows the No Ball. A batsman can get Out in only 3 ways on a No Ball.
We shall cover the obvious types of no balls first, and then we will look at some of the other interesting types of no balls.
So, without any further delay, let’s dive right into understanding the different types of no balls in cricket –
1. Front Foot No Ball – Overstepping by the Bowler
A front foot no ball is the most common type of a no ball that you will see taking place in a game of cricket. This usually happens when a bowler by mistake steps over the bowling crease while delivering the ball.
This type of a no ball is more common amongst fast bowlers as they typically tend to exert more force while delivering the ball. The fast bowlers also often have long strides during their run up, and this coupled with their momentum can often lead to a front foot no ball.
Did You Know: The delivery will not be called a no ball even if the part of the front foot of the bowler is in the air but behind the crease!
It is important to note that the bowler’s front foot must land with some part of the foot, either grounded or raised, behind the crease for it to not be called as a no ball.
This type of a no ball is also seen amongst the spin bowlers, but the frequency is lower than that of the fast bowlers.
2. No Ball if Ball Bounces Over Batsman’s Head
This is another common type of no ball that we get to see during a cricket match.
Bowling a bouncer or a short pitched delivery is a common strategy in getting a batsman dismissed in cricket. However, sometimes the ball just bounces a bit too much in a manner that it goes over the top of the batsman’s head.
In such a scenario, the ball bowled by the bowler is considered a No Ball.
3. No Ball if Bowler Bowls a Beamer
Another type of a no ball is when a bowler ends up bowling a beamer at the batsman.
A beamer is a type of delivery in cricket that reaches the batsman directly without bouncing on the pitch and at least above the height of the waist of the batsman.
There are various types of deliveries in Cricket. We wrote an extensive post about the 21 different types of bowling that can be seen in the game of Cricket. This list includes Beamers as an example. Be sure to check this out!
The bowlers don’t intentionally try to ball a beamer (mostly). In some cases, the ball simply slips out of the hands of a bowler.
Intentional or unintentional, whatever the case maybe, a beamer is not considered a legitimate delivery.
The following video showcases some examples of a Beamer bowled by international bowlers.
Bowling a beamer can not only cause injury to a batsman but the bowler may also end up getting penalised if he continues to bowl dangerously.
Thus, bowling a beamer will be called a no ball by the umpire.
4. No Ball for Chucking (Flexing the Arm)
Another type of a no ball is when the bowler is throwing the ball. This is also known as chucking.
In Cricket, chucking is the term given to an illegal bowling action of a bowler. Such type of a bowling action often provides an undue advantage to the bowler. Chucking is also known as throwing. The 15 degree rule is used to determine whether the bowler is chucking while bowling.
If you want to learn more about the 15 degree rule and what happens to a bowler if they are found to be chucking, be sure to check out our post where we cover this topic extensively.
If a bowler is chucking the ball or, in other words, bowling an illegal delivery, the umpire signals a no ball.
It is generally the duty of the leg umpire to determine the fairness of the bowling action. However, the umpire at the bowling end can also take the same action of calling out a No Ball.
Did You Know?
When a bowler is found to be chucking the ball the 2nd time in the same innings of a match, the bowler can be suspended immediately from bowling further in the remaining innings of the match!
It is interesting to note that when the bowler is called out for chucking the first time, the umpire simply calls it a no ball and gives a warning to the bowler. However, if the bowler is found chucking again, the bowler can be suspended immediately from bowling again in the rest of the innings!
The second delivery will also be called as a no ball.
5. Back Foot No Ball
Just like the front foot no ball, the bowler also has to keep control on where he is landing the back foot.
In Cricket, a back foot no ball is given when the bowler’s back foot touches the return crease during the course of his bowling action. Such a delivery is not counted as one for the over and 1 run is penalised to the bowling team.
Let’s consider the below image –
The above image is a representation of how the cricket pitch looks from the bowler’s end.
The image above clearly outlines the various elements of crease or the line markings on the pitch. The lines on the side are known as the return crease.
As per the laws of cricket, the bowler’s back foot must land within but not touching the return crease during his mode of delivery. In an event that such a condition arises, the umpire can signal the delivery as a no ball.
6. No Ball for Dangerous Short-pitched Deliveries
This rule is similar in nature to the no ball given when the ball bounces over the head of the batsman. However, there is a minor difference.
If the umpire feels that the bowler is bowling short-pitched deliveries that are dangerous for the batsman irrespective of the fact that the batsman is wearing protective gear, the umpire can out on this type of delivery and term it as a no ball.
It is interesting to note that in such a case, the delivery may not need to have bounced over the head of the batsman. As long as the delivery is capable of inflicting damage to the batsman or is unfair, it can be termed as a no ball.
For such a delivery, the umpire shall first issue the first and final warning to the bowler, and call it as a no ball. However, if the bowler continues to ball dangerous or unfair short-pitched deliveries, the ball shall again be termed as a no ball, and the umpire can suspend the bowler immediately.
7. No Ball for Failure to Notify the Mode of Delivery
Alright, I have to admit. This type of a no ball is very rare to see at an international level match as this rule is considered so basic that we often forget that it can be given a no ball!
Under the Law 21 of the No Ball of the Laws of Cricket termed as “Mode of Delivery”, the umpire needs to know whether the bowler intends to bowl right handed or left handed. Furthermore, the umpire shall also be aware whether the bowler shall bowl over the wicket or round the wicket.
The umpire is then responsible to inform the batsman on strike about the mode in which the delivery will be bowled.
It is deemed unfair if the bowler fails to notify the umpire when the bowler changes the mode of delivery. Upon doing so, the umpire shall call out and signal a no ball.
8. Underarm No Ball
The underarm bowling was at one point in time a huge topic for debate and caused a big controversy!
Interestingly, bowling underarm was not illegal for the longest period of time. However, it was only after the Trevor Chappel Underarm controversy of 1981 that the rules were changed.
When New Zealand needed 6 runs to win off the last ball of the match, Australia’s Trevor Chappel caused a controversy by bowling an underarm delivery to ensure a six could not be hit!
Subsequently, the underarm bowling was banned from international cricket as it was not considered within the spirit of the game.
Did You Know?
Bowling an underarm delivery was the original style of bowling in cricket. It was very common up until as late as 1910. Most bowlers later adopted to bowling overarm due to the advantage of the speed gained by the action of the bowler. Slowly the underarm bowling got phased out but was not considered illegal.
If a bowler today bowls an underarm delivery, not only will this surely cause another controversy, but such a delivery will also be called out and signalled as a no ball.
It is interesting to note that there is an exception to this rule. The underarm bowling will not be considered a no ball if there has been a special agreement between the two captains of the respective teams before the match.
9. No Ball if Wicketkeeper is in Front of Stumps
Okay, this is an unusual type of a no ball. Such a no ball has taken place at least twice in international cricket. However, instances of such no balls are quite rare.
It is important for note that a wicket keeper has certain restrictions as per the laws of cricket.
One such restriction is that the wicket keeper can not come ahead or even be parallel to the stumps from the moment the ball comes into play until either of the following things take place –
- The ball touches the bat, body or any other equipment of the batsman
- The ball has gone past the wickets at the striker’s end
- Or the Batsman on the strikers end tries to take a run
The following video explains this law very well along with the incident that took place with Alex Carey which was called a no ball.
Rishab Pant Incident
Another instance of such a no ball being called was during a T20 match between Indian and Bangladesh in 2019. Watch the following video for the explanation.
Bangladesh’s Liton Das was thought to be out on what seemed like a routine stumping. However, the replays showed that Rishab Pant had actually collected the ball ahead of the stumps, and since the ball had not touched any part of the batsman, this was deemed as a no ball.
10. No Ball if Bowler Touches Wickets during Delivery
Now, this type of a no ball may surprise some of you. However, it is a no ball if a bowler touches the wickets while bowling a delivery.
This rule was introduced to international cricket by ICC in 2013. Prior to 2013, such an incident would be deemed as a dead ball. However, in 2013, the International Cricket Council (ICC) changed this and included this as part of the no ball law.
As per the law 21.6 of the No Ball Rule, “If the bowler breaks the wickets after the ball comes into play but before completing the bowling stride such that the non-striker is not dismissed, then such either umpires are entitled to call and signal a No Ball“.
This basically means that if a bowler during his delivery stride or the run up disturbs the wickets at the non-strikers end, the delivery will be signalled as a no ball.
However, it is important to note that such a delivery will only be given a no ball as long as the batsman at the non-strikers end is not run out as an outcome of this event.
The Law 41 of the Laws of Cricket highlights “Unfair Play”. Under this law, a batsman at the non-strikers end can be given out if he leaves the crease before the bowler releases the ball. This type of dismissal is also known as “Mankading” after the famous Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad.
The above video showcases some incidents of Mankading in Cricket.
11. No Ball if Ball Bounces more than Once
This is another type of no ball.
The umpires are entitled to give the delivery a no ball if the ball bounces more than once.
As per the laws of cricket, “The umpires shall call and signal a no ball if the ball bounces more than once or rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease of the batsman at the strikers end“.
Such type of deliveries are often very rarely seen on the international level.
Once such incident is showcased in the video below which is a rare footage of a batsman getting out on a ball that bounced twice.
The above footage is a match that was played between England and President’s XI in which Mark Taylor managed to get the English batsman Angus Fraser out bowled on a ball that bounced twice. The match took place in 1999 in England.
Later in the video, Mark Taylor mentions that it SHOULD NOT have been a no ball. As per him, the rules state that the ball need to bounce more than twice for a no ball. He is not wrong though.
The rules were changed in the mid-2000s. Prior to that, it was a no ball if the ball bounced more than twice. However, the no ball rule changed to ball bouncing more than once.
Let’s see this another video –
The above video showcases Andre Adams from New Zealand bowling a delivery that bounces twice before being hit for a six! The incident took place during the 2003 World Cup.
This delivery was correctly not given a no ball as the rules clearly mentioned earlier that the a no ball would be when the ball bounces more than twice.
12. No Ball if Bowler Throws the Ball before Delivery
Another type of a no ball can be given if the bowler throws the ball towards the batsman during the stride of the delivery before the ball has been delivered.
This rule is not to be confused with no ball being called for Throwing or chucking the ball which is related to the bowling action of the bowler.
A no ball being called for throwing the ball before the delivery is extremely rare to be seen and even more rare to have a footage. But, let’s look at the video below to understand this rule further.
The above incident takes place during a match between West Indies and New Zealand. During the match, New Zealand batsman Brandon McCullum was batting really well. This caused frustration amongst the West Indies bowlers specially Darren Powell.
At one point, McCullum’s movement just before the ball was being delivered got under the skin of Darren Powell and he ended up throwing the ball towards the batsman out of frustration.
The commentators were not quite sure for the exact reason for the no ball being called. However, Darren Powell had actually violated the rule 21.4 of the No Ball Law of the Laws of Cricket. As stated above, under this rule, it shall be given a no ball if the bowler throws the ball towards the batsman before completing the delivery.
13. No Ball if Ball Bounces off the Pitch
This is another one of those no balls that are extremely rarely seen in the international cricket matches.
The umpires are expected to call it a no ball if the bowler bowls the delivery but the ball pitches outside the cricket pitch either partially or completely before it reaches the striker’s wickets.
Once such incident took place during a test match between India and England. The bowler was India’s Ravindra Jadeja. The bowler couldn’t release the ball as he would normally do. As a result, the ball ended up bouncing 4 or 5 times and going off the pitch before the batsman hit the ball away.
The ball was called a no ball because the ball bounced off the pitch.
14. No Ball if Fielder Intercepts a Delivery
It may sound counter intuitive for any fielder to intercept a delivery after it has been bowled by a bowler.
However, if any player from the fielding team ends up intercepting or stopping the ball after it has been delivered by the ball and before it reaches the batsman, such a delivery will be called and signalled as a no ball by the umpires.
This type of a no ball is somewhat similar in nature to the wicketkeeper rule mentioned above in point 9. As per the rule stated in point 9, a no ball can be given if the wicketkeeper comes ahead of the wickets before the ball touches the bat, body or any other equipment of the batsman.
It is difficult to comprehend why any player would attempt to intercept a delivery when it is being bowled. There have been no recorded incidents of such an instance to showcase it as an example.
15. No Ball if Ball Stops Before Reaching the Batsman
Another type of a no ball can be given by the umpires when the ball fails to even reach the batsman at the strikers end.
Some of us may confuse this with a dead ball, however, it is important to note that if a delivery fails to reach a batsman, a no ball will be signalled first and then the ball will be considered dead immediately after.
According to the rule 21.8 of the No Ball Law of the Laws of Cricket, “If a bowl delivered by the bowler comes to rest in front of the line of the striker’s wicket without it having previously touched the bat or the batsman, the umpires shall call and signal a No Ball and immediately also call and signal a Dead Ball“.
16. No Ball for Breaching the On-side Rule
This type of a No Ball is very interesting. Very few people are aware that a no ball can be called out by the umpire if the bowler or the bowling team breaches the on-side rule.
So, what is the on-side rule in cricket? The on-side rule sets a limitation on the number of fielders that can be placed behind the popping crease of the batsman on the on-side or the leg side. No more than 2 fielders are allowed to be placed on the leg side behind the crease of a batsman.
The on-side rule is covered under the Law 28 of the covering the topics of “The Fielder”.
As per the rule 28.4, “At the instant of the bowler’s delivery, there shall be no more than 2 fielders, other than a wicketkeeper, behind the popping crease of the batsman on the on side”.
In the event of infringement of this law by any fielder, the umpire at the striker’s end or the leg umpire is authorised to call and signal a no ball.
17. No Ball for Fielders Encroaching the Pitch
This type of a no ball is another rare type of a no ball.
As per the Law 21 of the No Ball, “an umpire can call it a no ball if the ball delivered by the bowler makes contact with any part of the fielder before it makes any contact with the bat or the batsman, or before it passes the wicket’s of the batsman”.
If such an event takes places during a match, the umpires shall first call and signal a no ball, and then immediately call and signal a Dead Ball.
So, there you have it. We’ve seen several different types of deliveries that can be signalled a no ball by the umpire. Some types of no ball are quite a common sight while some of the other types of no balls are quite rare.
I hope this post has given you enough insight in to various types situations when an umpire can call and signal a no ball.
I also hope you find this post really helpful. If so, please share it with your network and spread the interesting information.