This actually happened to the recent club cricket game that I played last week. We needed 6 runs off 11 balls and had 3 wickets in hand. One of the batsman played a shot and ball was rolling slowly towards the boundary line, all of a sudden a kid (age ~7) took about 10 steps into the ground and tried to grab the ball but it went over him hit something and jumped not reaching the boundary line. Since kid made the interference batsman and umpire lost sight of the ball and they (batsmen) did not finish the third run wondering if the ball was caught by the kid or went to the boundary line. Meanwhile, fielder chasing the ball continued running and pick up the ball, threw it back to the keeper and they made an appeal for the run-out.

Now, fielding side wanted the run out and batting side wanted the penalty 5 runs or to keep 2 runs which occurred before the interference or even redo the ball/delivery.

Umpire decided to play "fair" so he split the points (5 each) and called it "everyone won". Fielding side took this decision promptly and happily and quickly started packing while the batting side wasn't happy with the decision.

Now I wanna know, did the umpire made the right call? What are the rules/law for such cases?

5 Answers 5


TL;DR: Umpire made a wrong decision if they had consulted with a captain regarding obstacle within the boundary [law] before the game and it was confirmed that it did not hit a kid [law 19.2.7] and hit fielder discarded item [law 28.2.3].

From laws of cricket: (emphasis added)

Law 2 - The umpires

2.3 Consultation with captains

Before the toss the umpires shall

  • 2.3.1 meet with the captains; the umpires shall determine

  • [...]

  • the boundary of the field of play and allowances for boundaries, including whether any obstacle within the field of play is to be regarded as a boundary.

  • [...]

  • 2.3.2 inform the scorers of agreements in,, and

Law 19 (Boundaries)

19.1 Determining the boundary of the field of play

  • 19.1.1 Before the toss, the umpires shall determine the boundary of the field of play, which shall be fixed for the duration of the match.

19.2 Identifying and marking the boundary

  • [...]

  • 19.2.6 An obstacle within the field of play, other than as in 19.2.7, shall not be regarded as a boundary unless so determined by the umpires before the toss. See Law (Consultation with captains).

  • 19.2.7 A person or animal coming onto the field of play while the ball is in play shall not be regarded as a boundary unless the umpires determine otherwise at the time that contact between the ball and such a person or animal is made. The decision shall be made for each separate occurrence.

Law 28 - The fielder

28.2 Fielding the ball

  • 28.2.1 A fielder may field the ball with any part of his/her person (see Appendix A.12), except as in However, he/she will be deemed to have fielded the ball illegally if, while the ball is in play he/she wilfully

  • [...]

  • discards a piece of clothing, equipment or any other object which subsequently makes contact with the ball.

28.2.3 If a fielder illegally fields the ball, the ball shall immediately become dead and

  • the penalty for a No ball or a Wide shall stand.

  • any runs completed by the batsmen shall be credited to the batting side, together with the run in progress if the batsmen had already crossed at the instant of the offence.

  • the ball shall not count as one of the over.

In addition the umpire shall

  • award 5 Penalty runs to the batting side.

  • inform the other umpire and the captain of the fielding side of the reason for this action.

  • inform the batsmen and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side of what has occurred.

So, when a kid tried to grab the ball inside the ground but if it is confirmed that the ball did not hit him that is not to be considered as a boundary. However again if it is certain that the ball did hit something and jumped so depending on what was decided before game (whether that obstacle within the field of play is to be regarded as a boundary or not or if it was discarded piece of clothing, equipment or any other object of a fielder which made contact with the ball) umpire has to give decisions based on either [law 19.2.7] or [law 28.2.3].

However, if above things were not certain then from,

Law 2 - The umpires


2.11 Disagreement and dispute

Where there is disagreement or dispute about any matter, the umpires together shall make the final decision.

2.12 Umpire’s decision

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

The umpires together made the final decision according to their interpretation of laws which wasn't altered so it was final.


It happened in a professional game a few years ago - I think it was the IPL but not sure. An overenthusiastic ball boy picked the ball up before it crossed the rope. The umpires awarded a boundary, four runs. The ball was dead as soon as the boy picked up the ball - so anything happening after that is irrelevant.


The umpires were wrong. There is no reason to award penalty runs to the fielding team except in the case of unfair play by the batting team.

The batsmen are also wrong. Who stops running out of their ground when they can't see the ball?

I also disagree with @Lyrellia, who says in her answer that "the ball is stone dead as soon as the kid attempts to field it". None of the conditions in 20.1.1 appear to apply, and the fielding side clearly didn't regard it as dead, so 20.1.2 doesn't apply. The only way this ball is dead is if an umpire calls it dead, and in that case, the batsman is not out and the two completed runs should be scored.


There was a similar instance in the local league a couple of seasons ago, and we took the view that law 19 mentions other people, that we should award boundary 4 in this instance, and report what happened.


  • 1
    Thanks @Ben. Although, I am still not clear why it should be awarded as boundary(4). The link you provided does not really mention anything about the spectator making an interference. Still confused.
    – AR_HZ
    Jul 11, 2016 at 20:16
  • 1
    While you may have done that, it is a terrible misreading of the Laws to do so. A spectator is not typically defined as part of the boundary.
    – Nij
    Jul 13, 2016 at 8:33
  • We took the view that the section of law 19 that says spectators and other objects defined as boundary by umpires applied
    – Ben Whyall
    Jul 13, 2016 at 18:30
  • Spectators aren't part of the boundary unless specifically identified as such by the umpires to the scorers before the game begins. If that didn't happen, they were not part of boundary, and awarding Boundary for contact is incorrect in law.
    – Nij
    Jul 14, 2016 at 8:19
  • We have identified them as such. This prevents this problem.
    – Ben Whyall
    Jul 14, 2016 at 9:17

In the case of balls being interfered by spectators, dogs, bumble bees ect, it is up to the umpire to judge how many runs he thinks the batsmen would have got if the spectator, dog, or swarm of bumble bees was not there. If he believes the ball was hit hard enough to travel for four, then he will award four runs. If it wasnt hit hard enough, he would award one, two or three depending on how close the nearest fielder was.

In either case, the ball is stone dead as soon as the kid attempts to field it, so there is no question of a run out. There is no five run penalty either, as that only applies if the offending object was placed there by the fielding team.

This particular case, the ball not reaching the boundary was due to an undulation in the outfield, and not the kid, therefore the correct call should have been dead ball, 3 runs awarded. Ironically, if the kid had ran in front of the undulation and fielded the ball, because the umpire could not have expected the ball to have hit an undulation had it not been stopped by the kid, the correct call would have been dead ball, 4 runs awarded.

  • Please add links supporting your assertions in this answer.
    – TrueDub
    Jul 17, 2017 at 16:31
  • Tom Smith's Cricket Umpiring and Scoring, which deals with each Law on a law by law basis and is widely regarded as the definitive guide to interpretations of the Laws, has a section on the specific case of the ball interfered with by something other than a fielder. Jul 17, 2017 at 18:50
  • 2
    Indeed it does - but this website asks that people back up their assertions by providing links to outside sources confirming what they assert - for instance, the laws of cricket are online and you should be able to link to the exact law that indicates the outcome you're suggesting.
    – TrueDub
    Jul 18, 2017 at 8:28
  • I referred to a printed book, not a web site. Printed books are in general far more accurate and error-free than web sites. Jul 28, 2017 at 15:34

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