Index

Appeal, How's that, shout

Owner: A Newman


The usual appeal made to a cricket umpire is 'How's that?', though it often sounds more like 'OWZAAAA!!?' or, failing that, some other unrecognisable noise! The important thing is not what is shouted but that some form of appeal is made. According to the Laws, umpires only dismiss batsmen on appeal, in other words when at least one of the fielding side asks the question and the umpire answers in the affirmative.
Sometimes the fielding side will change their minds and wish to withdraw their appeal, whereupon their captain may request the umpire's permission to withdraw it. This request must be made before the batsman leaves the field of play. The umpire, not the captain, has the sole decision on whether or not to grant the request and is not obliged to do so. If he does not grant his permission, the batsman's dismissal stands; if he does then the batsman will be permitted to return to the wicket and resume his innings.
So under what circumstances might an umpire ever refuse permission to withdraw an appeal since, if the fielding side are admitting they made a mistake, surely it would be unfair not to allow the batsman to continue his innings? The answer is that there is always the possibility that the change of mind might be because the fielders have now decided that it's in their interests for the batsman to be allowed to continue. He might perhaps be a very slow scorer - whereas they may suddenly have realised that the batsman due in next is the local equivalent of Kevin Pietersen, Adam Gilchrist or Shahid Afridi! The request to withdraw their appeal may therefore be based more on a tactical advantage to them rather than any real concern for fair play. The umpire has to evaluate this at the time, before making a decision.
If a dismissal is an obvious and uncontroversial one - a batsman bowled by a fair delivery, say, or cleanly caught - batsmen will often take the decision themselves and leave the wicket without waiting for an appeal - though they do not have to do this. Sometimes a batsman dismisses himself in error - he thinks he is out, but he is not. Perhaps he did not hear a call of No Ball from the umpire at the striker's end or perhaps the umpire thinks a catch was not fairly taken. In such a case the umpire should call Dead Ball (this protects the batsman from being Run out) and recall the batsman. Excessive appealing - appeals that are made continuously or go on for too long - is rightly regarded as a breach of The Spirit of Cricket preamble to the Laws.
Consequently the umpires should tell the captain of the fielding side that such actions are unacceptable, inform the captain of the batting side, and subsequently make a report on the incident to whoever is in charge of the fielding side, together with the governing body of the match.