Run Out – the cruelest of dismissals

Running between wickets and the ability to judge runs is a important skill that batsman need in their armoury.

Still, being RUN OUT is a particularly annoying way to be dismissed. It means you haven’t deceived by that person with the rock in his hand.

Cricketers of all level, regardless of technical attributes and abilities, are frustrated when the scorebook records RUN OUT as their mode of dismissal – it doesn’t matter if it is for a diamond duck, they failed to reach double figures, got a start or plundered a century.

run out

The photo is perfect evidence.

From the Southern Districts Cricket Club in the top end, Sam Ferguson had helped his side, the Northern Territory under 17s recover from 5/40 and put on 79 with left-hander Jacob Dick.

Trying to elevate the scoring rate, pushing for a third he was beaten by a great throw from the boundary from Michael Cormack.

After working hard, in some of the most oppressive conditions seen in an Adelaide summer, where Ferguson made a prudent 28 from 104 ball faced in an hour and 46 minute stay at the crease his innings finished with a modest piece of judgement, try to steal a third run.

He may have been dismissed next ball he faced, but being run out has the implication, that he threw his hand away.

In a vividly remembered summer when I was failing to get the ball off the square, playing in the early days of the mighty Richmond/Clarence Park Cricket Club in the Adelaide Turf competition (still a good mate) ‘Jags’ smashed on ball to point, called yes and I was run out by half the length of the cricket pitch.

‘Jags’ as we passed each other, mid pitch, was already apologizing. He had already realized his error and simply said, before the bails were dislodged “sorry bloke”.

Nearly two decades later, I can now laugh about it – a little.


  1. Nice one, it is such an infuriating way to get out.

    I recall in a high school match running out a kid I’d known since kinder. He barely spoke to me for the next 2 years.

    Then I committed hari kari a few years later on the same ground. It was my call but given the batsman facing went by the nickname ‘Sludgie’ I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that he ignored my (admittedly average) call of ‘Yeeeess!’.

  2. matt watson says

    I hated getting run out.
    I remember one innings when we were in trouble. I was a tail-ender, batting with the captain. He laid down the law, no silly run outs.
    A few overs later he ran me out, something he’d done twice already to other batsmen.
    Another match, I batted an hour for four runs, holding up one end in rare form.
    When our last batsman got out, another tail-ender came in and called for a run that was there. I hesitated and got run out by half the pitch.
    Copped it too, from everyone.
    I remember Mark Waugh, against the West Indies in 1991-92, getting run out in five consecutive innings.
    Waugh was aggrieved. ‘The bowler hasn’t got you out,’ he said. ‘It’s like a free wicket.’
    True words.

  3. David Zampatti says

    My uncle, the great Slasher Mackay, had a morbid fear of being run out. I think he was stranded at the bowler’s end once at Virginia Primary School in the 1930s, and never quite recovered from it.
    I know “Just don’t get us run out” was his grim admonition to every new batsman who joined him at the crease.
    That probably explains why he could occupy the crease for eternities without seeming to trouble the scorer. Better safe than sorry.
    I’d meant to write in a while ago when sledging was the topic de jour with Ken’s story about Norm O’Neill. Seems Normie, who was an infamously nervous starter, liked a chat at the wicket to break the ice, so, when Slasher was captain, Queensland used to ignore him completely when he came to the wicket.
    It all got to much for Norm one game, and he strolled over to Ken in the gully and stuck him in the guts with his bat handle, to hysterical laughter all round. A century ensued.
    No match referees in those days.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Running between wickets a vital skill of the game but how many times in your career do you actually practice it ! I am pedantic about it coaching kids and by the end of the season the kids don’t turn blind and I make them back up in the correct hand !
    I find this latest fad not only stupid but rude Peter if you are bowling I owe you the courtesy of watching you bowl and then backing up ( ED COWAN ) take note
    Getting run out is a terrible way to get out don’t make it even worse !
    Looking 4wd to stirring Jags up about his mention ! Thanks Peter

  5. Is there a crueller mode of dismissal, than being run out for 99? I recall KIm Hughes throwing down the stumps, to run out Graham Gooch at the MCG in 1979-80, as Gooch stretched for the single to being up hits ton; alas a run too far. I feel Jaques Kallis was also run out for 99 in a test, on the MCG. But would it be crueller to be stranded on 299, when your partner gets run out? I have a feeling this happened to the “Don” in a test in the early 1930’s, against either South Africa or the Windies.


  6. Barry Nicholls says

    I used to dream of being run out. Still do.

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