Puzzling over cricket on a lazy sunday afternoon .....

Who doesn't love puzzles ... and especially on a lazy sunday afternoon?

Yesterday afternoon, I was thumbing "The Worst of MindSport", a collection of puzzles run by Mukul Sharma in his "MindSport" column. FWIW, "MindSport" was a famous weekly column in "Illustrate Weekly of India" and now-a-days it features in "Times of India". It was said that there were a section of folks who bought the newspaper just for his column, just like there is a group who get the ToI for RK Laxman's daily cartoon column.

Anyway found two interesting puzzles from the book, worth sharing here ...

1. Did you know what is common among all the US presidents after George Washington ?

Answer [ROT13'ed]: (copy this line into the text area at http://www.rot13.com/index.php and press "Cypher").

Nyy gurve ynfg anzrf unir ngyrnfg bar yrggre va gur frg 'Jnfuvatgba'

Is this why Kerry couldn't make it last time?

2.This is more a cricketing problem than a puzzle. Cricket is religion in India (I haven't been actively following our cricket team since idols wept ... but that's a story for another day).

The problem goes like this: It is the last ball, last wicket in a match and the batting side needs a run to win the game. So the batsmen hits a beautiful shot and one could easily run 3 runs with that stroke. However the batsman is injured (broke his leg -- hypothetical, remember!) making the shot and can't run (no runner for him..).

So he calls his non-striker team-mate to start the run. The batsman gets out of his crease for a few inches and the non-striker completes his run. He asks the non-striker to go for another run and the batsman gets back into his crease. He argues that the first run was a "short" run and the second one was a valid run since he returned "back" to his crease. Do they win the match or not?

Apparently Mukul Sharma met Dom Moraes [apparently was an avid cricket fan] once and posed him this and he apparently held that this was not a run for various reasons. The author doesn't go on to explain the rules of the game that explain either way.

However readers of this space, this is where you come :). Could you help me out? Use the comments section to point to me some arcane MCC rule, show me some old Ashes/subcontinental precedent .. help me solve this problem.


Some puzzles are so boring and first puzzle comes under this category.
Siva, yes the run is not allowed. Law 18 clarifies this.
5. Deliberate short runs
(a) Notwithstanding 4 above, if either umpire considers that either or both batsmen deliberately run short at his end, the following procedure shall be adopted.
(i) The umpire concerned shall, when the ball is dead, warn the batsmen that the practice is unfair, indicate that this is a first and final warning and inform the other umpire of what has occurred. This warning shall continue to apply throughout the innings. The umpire shall so inform each incoming batsman.
(ii) The batsmen shall return to their original ends.
(iii) Whether a batsman is dismissed or not, the umpire at the bowler’s end shall disallow all runs to the batting side from that delivery other than the penalty for a No ball or Wide, or penalties under Laws 42.5 (Deliberate distraction or obstruction of batsman) and 42.13 (Fielders damaging the pitch), if applicable.
(iv) The umpire at the bowler’s end shall inform the scorers as to the number of runs scored.
(b) If there is any further instance of deliberate short running by any batsman in that innings, when the ball is dead the umpire concerned shall inform the other umpire of what has occurred and the procedure set out in (a)(ii) and (iii) above shall be repeated. Additionally, the umpire at the bowler’s end shall
(i) award 5 penalty runs to the fielding side. See Law 42.17 (Penalty runs).
(ii) inform the scorers as to the number of runs scored.
(iii) inform the batsmen, the captain of the fielding side and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side of the reason for this action.
(iv) report the occurrence, with the other umpire, to the Executive of the batting side and any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and player or players concerned.

Posted by sankar on February 27, 2006 at 03:13 PM IST #

Thanks Sankar for that quick response. You are referring to the official laws of cricket, I assume. What was interesting was that Law 18 had a section (4)on "Unintentional short runs" as well. Would an injured man running short [okay, waay short] be considered as intentional by the umpire? 3(b) says :"Although a short run shortens the succeeding one, the latter if completed shall not be regarded as short." The wording is not clear on the latter run being completed by whom?

So would this latter run be given as a "benefit of doubt" to the batsman? Does any one know of a precedent? Probably not the last ball ... but during play.

Posted by Sivakumar Thyagarajan on February 27, 2006 at 03:45 PM IST #

In the specific case you mentioned, the shorter becomes an intentional one and hence rule (4) wouldn't apply. So, rule 5 is in charge and run will not be enabled.

Posted by sankar on February 28, 2006 at 04:06 AM IST #

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Sivakumar Thyagarajan-Oracle


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