- December 6, 2022
Do we literally know the free hit rule? Know now!
A crucial moment occurred in the match. The bowlers, the fielders, and even the batsmen are all under pressure.
When under pressure, the bowler falters and throws a no-ball, a free hit is awarded! However, what exactly is free hit in cricket and why is it offered?
What is a free hit in cricket?
In cricket, a free hit is an intriguing rule that is only used in limited-overs cricket, such as ODI and T20I cricket. The bowling staff is penalized by the batting team with a Free Hit for a variety of no-ball breaches.
The very next conveyance following the no-ball is the Free Hit conveyance. It allows the batsman on strike to manage the conveyance at his discretion without worrying about excuses.
The Global Cricket Committee initially introduced Free Hit for the 2007 T20I World Cup in South Africa (ICC).
It was initially anticipated that it would only be used for front-foot no-balls, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) clarified that it should be used excessively for any foot shortcoming no-balls, which led to its extension to a variety of no-balls.
Free Hit rules
The on-field umpires announce the delivery that comes after the no-ball as a free hit.
The ICC rule book states that a no-ball can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a front-foot or back-foot violation, a waist-high no-ball, switching the bowling side without informing the umpire, or the ball bouncing twice on the field.
The same rules that apply to no-ball deliveries apply to free-hit deliveries as well.
When the free hit rule is in effect, a hitter may be removed only by running out, hitting the ball twice, or blocking the field. Furthermore, if the free-hit ball is wide, the batter cannot be stumped.
The free hit is the only delivery where the bowler is permitted to switch sides.
Unless there is a change of strike, the opponent is not permitted to shift the field during a free hit delivery.
If the hitter who encountered the no-ball delivery is on strike, switching players on the same field is prohibited. In the event of an unauthorized field change, the free hit carries over to the subsequent delivery.
However, regardless of whether the batter is on strike, the fielding change is permitted if the no-ball was called by the umpire due to a fielding error, such as having an additional fielder outside the circle.
Are batters permitted to run in case of a free hit?
The hitters being bowled is one of the outcomes of a free hit. However, the hitters are permitted to run after being bowled on a free-hit ball. Despite being bowled, the hitter still receives the runs if the ball strikes the bat before it strikes the stumps.
The runs are added to the batting team’s tally as leg-byes if the ball touches the pads before the stumps, but they are given as byes if it strikes the stumps first.
One such event occurred during the legendary final over of the India-Pakistan encounter during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12. Virat Kohli was bowled by Mohammad Nawaz on the free-hit ball, and the Indian batter made three runs that were counted as byes.
A Free Hit signal from the umpire
The umpire will extend one hand parallel to the ground at shoulder height to indicate a no-ball. After that has been acknowledged, the umpire makes another signal.
The umpire moves in a circular motion while raising his arm straight up to administer a free hit.
Are field adjustments permitted during a free hit?
During a free hit, field modifications are typically not allowed until the strikers move. In the case of a batter receiving consecutive Free-Hit strikes, both the batsman and the bowlers are then permitted to make changes.
Additionally, changing fielders during the delivery of a free hit is not permitted. There is a small catch to this law, though. Let’s say a field violation led to the no-ball decision.
Say there are numerous fielders outside the circle. Regardless of who is facing the strike in these circumstances, the fielding position can change.
However, the alternation can only be made to fix the earlier fielding mistake.
The bowlers don’t benefit much from free hits. However, they are permitted to alter the bowling’s tempo, setting, or even place. Umpires must be made aware of this in advance; otherwise, it will be treated as a no-ball.
Benefits for Batsmen
The fact that the batsman gets a free shot at the following ball is a definite advantage. They are not eligible for most dismissal categories, including the three most popular ones: bowled, caught, and LBW.
Therefore, the majority of hitters will attempt to get the ball toward or beyond the boundary when given a free hit.
They’ll try to play large, sweeping power shots, or they might be creative and play the ramp.
They can merely go for power or creativity to seize the moment because they are aware that they cannot be caught or bowled. When the free hit call is made, they are aiming for fours or sixes.
The fact that the batsman cannot be out stumped by a free shot is also extremely advantageous. They can therefore move quickly down the wicket without the fear of being out if the keeper removes the bails.
When the ball strikes the stumps, there is another minor and infrequent advantage. The ball isn’t dead since the batsman hasn’t been “bowled out,” thus the batters can cross for a bye.