'Doesn't mean it's right': Mark Waugh calls for extraordinary rule change

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Mark Waugh has called for leg-byes to be scrapped from international cricket.

The Australian cricketing great brought up the idea while on commentary for Thursday evening’s BBL match between the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars.

After the Thunder’s Alex Ross ran two leg-byes after being struck on the pads, Waugh couldn’t help but bring up his proposed change.

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“You know what, I’ve got a rule change in all cricket: No leg-byes, especially in T20s,” Waugh suggested as the batsmen ran between wickets.

“That should not be two runs.

“Why do you get runs? You missed the ball.”

Fellow cricketing great turned commentator, England’s Michael Vaughan, raised an eyebrow to Waugh’s left-field idea.

Vaughan eventually, albeit somewhat sarcastically, suggested Waugh ought to be on the MCC cricket committee.

“You should be on the MCC cricket committee. You have to be on there,” Vaughan said in reply.

“With that kind of thought process. He’s got to be on.”

Steve Smith of Australia speaks to the umpire during day one of the Second Test match in the series between Australia and New Zealand. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Despite the gentle mockery, Waugh pushed on - arguing the batsman shouldn’t be rewarded for not getting bat on ball.

Vaughan argued that leg-byes were part of the game, but Waugh was insistent that was no reason not to change it.

Conceding that regular byes should remain part of the game, Waugh was insistent that the leg-bye had to go.

“I know it is (part of the game). It doesn’t mean it’s right though,” Waugh said.

“I’ll keep byes in. Then you don’t have to worry about whether the batsman has evaded the ball, played a shot at it? Leg byes nothing,” Waugh said.

“As a batsman you have a bat. The idea is to hit the ball with the bat.

“If you don’t hit it, sorry, you don’t get a run.”

Leg-byes became a talking point during the Boxing Day Test, when Steve Smith was twice denied runs by the field umpire after being struck by short balls.

Umpire Nigel Long sent the former captain back twice after the ball thudded into his body at the MCG, leading an irate Smith to confront him at the end of the session.