Yorkshire’s decision to not run-out Lancashire’s Steven Croft in a crunch situation in a T20 Blast encounter has divided opinion and triggered a debate amongst the cricketing fraternity in England with sharp and contrasting views from both sides. With 15 needed from 18 deliveries and five wickets in hand the match was tantalisingly poised when Croft collapsed and fell while attempting a single but the Joe Root-led Yorkshire decided not to go for the run-out.
The umpires had no choice but to declare a dead ball after Yorkshire decided against attempting to run-out Croft who lay in the middle of the pitch holding on to his leg in pain. As it panned out Croft was suffering from severe cramps but was able to resume his innings and remained unbeaten on 26 to take Lancashire to a four-wicket win at Old Trafford and thereby a spot in the Quarter-Finals.
England’s superstar batsman and skipper of Yorkshire, Root stated that his team made a difficult decision under pressure while accepting that a majority of captains and teams would have probably reacted differently to the situation.
“As a side we made a very difficult decision under pressure. Croft’s injury looked very serious at first glance. In many ways it was a relief it was nothing serious. I am sure there will be many different opinions. Many people would have handled it differently," quoted Root.
Croft praised Yorkshire’s decision and stated that the temperature and the heat had got the better of him.
“Two games in two days at 36 (years old) and a bit of sun has done me. I put the brakes on, they worked, and my legs just cramped up. I didn’t know where the ball had gone. They could have taken the bails off and credit to them that they didn’t."
However the decision triggered a debate between two former England players - Mark Butcher and Rob Key who were on commentary during the match.
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Butcher stated that Yorkshire should have absolutely run-out Croft and the whole situation was a bit bizarre.
“I can’t believe what I’ve just there, frankly, as a professional sportsman. I’m baffled by that, I really am. Croft changed his mind halfway through the run and decided to put the anchors on. And because of that, whether or not he’s got full spikes on, he slipped. It’s not up to Yorkshire to decide if he’s got a problem or he’s broken his leg or his leg’s fallen off. Run him out and deal with it afterwards. I found the whole thing completely bizarre," opined Butcher.
However, Key had a different take and was in support of Yorkshire’s act of sportsmanship highlighting the similarities between what transpired in Manchester to how footballers kick the ball out of play when an opponent is injured.
“When he went down, you don’t know if he had cramp. All you see is him rolling around on the ground and he can’t continue, he can’t even try and get back in. It’s one of those things where people will agree and disagree with and have their point of view," said Key.