Run Outs – The lazy, the brilliant and the silly

Run outs – One of my favourite cricket moments. Perhaps they are most often debated ones among fans after a close LBW call. “Where is that idiot looking?”, “He could have made that run on one leg. He had so much time”. “It was X’s call. X was running to the danger end. Y had no business denying the run”. Comments like these pour from us fans. But what causes run outs ? How much are they avoidable.? They are often the product of several ingredients, miscommunication, a brilliant piece of fielding or something else. I have tried to list the various causes for run outs and provide some video examples. I think at least one of them is necessary to have a run out.

1. Laziness

In some situations there is no chance of a run out. A batsmen is in a position where he can comfortably make it, but goofs up badly by being lazy – not dragging the bat to simply taking it easy. This run-out of Sehwag by Sangakkara  fits the category.



2. Suicide

At certain times, like during the end overs of a limited overs game, a pair may decide to take a run though their only hope of not getting out is the fielder making a mistake. This might be done to get a good hitter on strike or simply to gather that extra run off the last ball.



3.The misjudgement

This is similar to the previous category in that both batsmen agree to run, but both feel that they can make it safely and they are wrong. It might turn out that one batsman trusted the other’s call and responds straight away.



4. The hesitation aka “YES NO YES SORRY”

Sometimes one or both batsmen are not so sure whether the run is on but decide to proceed after some stop-start. Eventually the batsmen is just short and everyone feels “They would have easel made it had they gone straight away”.

Yes! No! Yes! Sorry!!


5. Ball Watching

In the above three situations, there is some communication between the two batsmen. In this category, that completely goes out of the window. One of the common causes is ball-watching. Either batsmen or both are looking at the ball and not at each other and one of them just keeps running. This usually results in both batsmen ending on the same side of the wicket. When this happens, the ball-watcher is mostly the striker. Two things can happen. The striker mishits the ball ( an inside edge or gets hit on the pads ) and sort of starts wondering about how he should have played the ball and pays no heed to where the ball has gone. The non-striker sees the run opportunity and starts running. The second possibility is that the striker hits the ball very sweetly but straight to a fielder. He instinctively thinks “Wow that felt good. I should get some runs for that” and starts running. Now again  the non-striker is aware of the real situation and doesn’t want to run. By the time the striker realises it is too late.

Watch your partner too


6. Brilliance

These are rare instances where none of the above applies. The batsmen are going for a run they would make it 99 out of a 100 times, but the fielder manages a spectacular stop or throw or both and finds the batsman short. This is not just a case where there has been a diving effort / direct hit, a case where the fielding act borders fluke.

The brilliant


7. The chaos

This may not be a category in itself, but may result when you have two or more of the previous four. Usually happens when lower order players or some notorious runners like Inzaman are involved and becomes highly likely in a “runner” situation. Here is an example. Watch till the end. There is a small surprise.

No words

I think that none of the run-outs except those caused by 1 and 5 can be avoided. If you don’t risk an occasional misjudgement, i.e if you want be 100% sure when you run, you are likely to miss out a lot of runs. Hesitation will always be there as long as humans play the game, as we always doubt our and other people’s judgement.


2 Responses to “Run Outs – The lazy, the brilliant and the silly”

  1. shankar Says:

    Where do you categorize this? Srikkant played the ball to gully.. and then walked around for a stroll as he normally does. The ball was still in play… Gully picked the ball up and threw the stumps down! Is it run out or stumped? I am stumped!

    • santhanakrishnan Says:

      As he played the ball and left the crease, he is run out and not stumped. This is lazy category. He should have asked for permission to leave the crease. I frequently see pitch gardeners do that.

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