Andrew Strauss was perfectly within the rules — and bang on the money — when he turned down Graeme Smith’s request for a runner the other day. What I don’t get is this bit in the ICC’s official statement on the issue:
“He [Smith] asked for a runner and the umpires took the view that cramp is a symptom of fatigue,” an ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying by PA. “Being tired does not qualify batsmen for a runner under the laws of the game. That is the way it will be interpreted by the umpires for the rest of the tournament.
Why? If the objection to runners coming on simply because a batsman tires in mid innings is valid, why is the umpire asked to enforce the proscription only for one particular tournament, and not as a rule across the board — especially since the spokesman points at the ODI rule book to justify the action?