Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should consider getting rid of free hits in limited-overs cricket. He is of the opinion that the lives of the bowlers would be much easier if free hits were discarded from limited-overs cricket.
The batting team is allowed a free hit off the ball subsequent to a no-ball. The batsman cannot be dismissed on a free hit delivery through any mode of dismissal other than the ones applicable on a no-ball.
This makes run out, hitting the ball twice and obstruction of the field the only possible modes of dismissal on a free hit. Additionally, the fielding team cannot change the field for a free hit if the same batsman is on strike.
Manjrekar believes that the bowler is punished excessively for a no-ball since he automatically concedes an extra run, has to bowl an extra delivery and also has no chance of dismissing the batsman on the no-ball.
He believed that providing a free hit in addition to all this made the lives of the bowlers even more miserable.
“The more I watch T20s, more I feel certain that we must get rid of the ‘free hit’. Make bowlers’ lives easier. You are penalised a run, you bowl an extra delivery & you don’t get out on a no ball anyway,” Sanjay Manjrekar tweeted.
The more I watch T20s, more I feel certain that we must get rid of the ‘free hit’. Make bowlers’ lives easier. You are penalised a run, you bowl an extra delivery & you don’t get out on a no ball anyway. #ICC
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) December 7, 2020
The concept of a free hit was first introduced in international cricket in 2007. Initially, free hits applied to only foot-fault no-balls. This included both overstepping and cutting the return crease with the back foot.
The ICC changed the laws in 2015 to bring in all the no-balls into the ambit of free hits. Hence, even if the umpire calls a no-ball for a waist-high full toss, or for the bowler breaking the stumps or due to breach of field restrictions or any other reason, the subsequent ball will result in a free hit.