THE GOLDEN RULES OF RUNNING BETWEEN THE WICKETS
Aims: not merely to score more runs, but also to gain the initiative, feel more confident, to rattle the fielding side, and to unsettle the bowlers – thereby making it easier for you to score runs by orthodox strokeplay.
Your attitude should be less ‘I shan’t run unless I obviously can’ than ‘I will run unless something stops me’.
1. A run is never worth a wicket. If in doubt, don’t run!
2. Never give up; it makes it too easy for the fieldsman.
3. Do NOT run unless it is a very easy run for the following:
a) a misfield
b) a mishit which spoons up in the air
c) a well-hit drive
All these are dangerous since, for different reasons, batsmen feel an instinctive urge to run whether it is safe to do so or not. BEWARE!
4. Run every run as fast as possible, but particularly the first one. At the end of each run EVEN IF YOU THINK ANOTHER IS UNLIKELY, always turn to look for another, and call WAIT (see below). Don’t continue your triumphal progress past the wicket.
5. Change the bat from right hand to left etc., so that as you touch the bat down, you can look up to see the fieldsman (rather than have to turn round). Do not keep looking as you run – it slows you down.
6. If you have misjudged a run and may be run out, run your bat in almost parallel to the ground – the extra few inches may make all the difference. Otherwise just dab the bat down and turn.
7. The striker must run straight at the bowler – the non-striker is the other side. Do not run down the wicket – it won’t improve its quality. Be careful when bowlers bowl from the ‘wrong’ side.
8. CALLING: The striker calls for a ball hit in front of the wicket
The non-striker calls for a ball hit behind.
After the first run, it is for the man running into danger (normally to the wicket-keeper’s end) to call.
9. NO ALWAYS MEANS NO (from either batsman) – whoever is supposed to do the calling (see rule1).
10. There are only three calls, all of which should be shouted:
‘wait on’ is meaningless; ‘wait there’ really means no and is thus ambiguous; ‘not now’ (later, perhaps?) is merely an admission of incompetent calling.
A perhaps unexpected call (eg. NO after second thoughts, or YES for very cheeky run) should be very loud indeed.
11. WAIT means: go as far as you possibly can out of your crease but can get back if the fieldsman throws down the stumps. The caller (see 8) should call WAIT almost immediately after the ball is played – for action, see above – followed by either YES or NO. The non-striker should reckon to back up 7 yards. It follows that the one place the batsman should never hit the ball is straight back down the wicket (unless it is either very hard – 4 runs – or very soft – 3 yards).
12. Do not commit yourself to a run until the caller has called YES.
Follow these rules and you will virtually never be run out (nor will you run out anybody else); your individual score and the team’s score can be doubled by good running between the wickets. It’s also something that anybody can do well – however good or bad his batting may otherwise be.