Umpire errs in counting Over Balls: Scorer and other umpire intervention is encouraged

Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka

During Sri Lanka batting in the on going Harare Test against Zimbabwe, one of the on field umpires (India’s Nitin Menon and Pakistan’s Aleem Dar) erred in ball counting and one ball had been bowled less by the Zimbabwean bowler Sikandar Raza in 37th over.

Incidentally, the other umpire or the scorer did not bring it to the notice of the umpire who miscounted the balls, though the same is permissible, according to Jonny Singer, the Laws of Cricket Advisor at Marylebone Cricket Club, the custodian of the Laws of the game. 

Speaking exclusively over the telephone from London, he said, “there are two key Laws here. First, 17.5.1, which states: “If the umpire miscounts the number of valid balls, the over as counted by the umpire shall stand”.

“That said, there is nothing to stop communication between the two umpires, and indeed the scorers – in fact, it is to be encouraged. If the scorer, or the other umpire, notices a mistake, the umpire is permitted to change his/her decision under Law 2.12. This states:

“An umpire may alter any decision provided that such alteration is made promptly. This apart, an umpire’s decision, once made, is final”.

“‘Promptly’, in this case, usually means before the ball next comes into play. So, if a mistake is noticed before the next over begins, the umpire may revoke the call of Over, and bowl the remaining delivery. If not, the over as counted stands under Law 17.5”, he added.

“It would not usually be appropriate for the players to be the ones questioning the decision – it is better that the umpires and scorers come to this conclusion between them”, Singer signed off. 


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