Former South African pacer Dale Steyn has proposed that the free hit rule be introduced into Test cricket, claiming that it will assist tail-enders “survive” longer overs when the bowlers throw no-balls. If the bowler bowls a foot-fault no-ball in limited-overs cricket, the batting team is granted a free hit. Even though the delivery for the free hit is referred to as a wide ball, the striker may only be disqualified under the same conditions as a no-ball.

He tweets, “In Test Cricket, a free hit for no-ball. What are your thoughts? It will undoubtedly aid bowlers in surviving those long 7/8 and perhaps 9-ball overs we’ve seen before. For the tailenders facing a world-class, life-threatening fast bowler, six balls are difficult enough”.

A free hit is a delivery to a batter in limited-overs cricket in which the batsman cannot be removed by any means other than those that apply for a no-ball, which are hitting the ball twice, creating an obstruction in the field, and run-out. After a bowler throws a no-ball, the next ball is a free hit. The batter also gets a free shot if the ball is thrown full toss above the waist.

Steyn is a highly respected player in the cricketing community and his opinions are something that doesn’t go unnoticed. But if this suggestion by Dale has to see the light of day, it must first be reviewed by the ICC, who will evaluate its proper use cases.

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