Cricket is back, and that can only mean one thing: comedy run-out videos are once again a frequent and welcome part of our lives.
Hilarious to everyone except the aggrieved batsman in each instance, there’s nothing that makes professional cricketers seem mortal quite like a farcical mix-up in the middle. It’s the kind of thing you can see and think, ‘Hey, I could do that.’ And you would probably be right too.
Still, not all run-outs are created equal, and the best (or worst, depending on your viewpoint) combine not just miscommunication and hurt feelings, but some indefinable extra aspect that elevates them to the realm of the truly village.
Here are six run-out videos to make life worth living again.
Critchley stitched up
A run out that happened just today, in Nottinghamshire’s Bob Willis Trophy clash against Derbyshire, inspiring this piece. At first it’s just your simple yes-no palaver, Leus de Plooy sending back Matt Critchley, who ignores him at first and then turns back forlornly. Had he been a smidge less folorn, however, he would have kept his wicket, with a wild throw clearing the onrushing floppy-hatted keeper and point fielder, who almost collide when jumping in unison and in vain trying to haul in the ball.
At this point, realising all might not be lost after all, Critchley gets his skates on, only for Steven Mullaney to finally inject some quality into proceedings, his direct hit meaning the Derbyshire all-rounder can only continue his run back to the pavilion.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 2, 2020
At least Critchley deigned to try and preserve his wicket, which is more than can be said for Amit Mishra in this bizarre IPL calamity of errors. We’ll do our best to describe, but really the only way is to watch it. In the final over of Sunrisers’ innings, Amit Mishra’s wild slog missed a James Faulkner slower ball by about a pitch width, and went through to Royals keeper Sanju Samson. Mishra tried to steal a bye, but was left stranded by his unresponsive partner Irfan Pathan. Then it got weird.
Mishra seemed to decide now was a good time to go on a leisurely stroll, as Faulkner and Samson enjoyed a bit of fielding practice, throwing it back and forth to each other on the bounce, unsuccessful twice in their attempts to nail direct hits. Finally, the gloveman managed to find the target, just as Mishra’s wander was about to take him back to safety. Nonplussed he found himself with his foot hovering in the air over the crease as the timber was demolished.
This video isn’t embeddable, so you’ll have to head over to the IPL’s website to watch it.
Samit slips over
There’s not much too this one, but sometimes simple can be devastating. The YouTube clip, uploaded by the ECB, is simply titled ‘Samit slips over!’ and has been viewed more than half a million times. The slip in itself is gold, Patel’s legs whirring without getting any traction, like a Looney Tunes character having run out of cliff. But the reaction is better still, with the left-arm spinner sitting sadly for what feels like an age before getting up onto one knee and holding the pose, wallowing in the misery like Michael Clarke in the 2005 Ashes.
The triple Samit
What’s better than one slip? Two slips of course. It’s Ian Botham’s captaincy mantra, but also true of run-out videos, with the slidies proving more contagious than a certain novel coronavirus in this Plunket Shield clash. What proves fatal here is that it should be two as soon as it’s hit the bat, meaning that Nathan Smith doesn’t even look as he turns for the second. Why would you? It’s not as ever your batting partner will have slipped twice at the non-striker’s end, that would be ridiculous.
That is also, however, what happened, and Smith put in a collapse of his own for good measure.
Shane Watson: the only man who can be lbw while fielding
Question: Does it qualify as a comedy run out video if there’s no actual run out? Answer: Yes, if it’s this funny. At first, it’s textbook. Some Sri Lankan silliness leaves both batsmen stranded, and the keeper gets it near enough to the non-striker’s end for Michael Clarke to complete the formalities. He takes aim and unleashes, forgetting the immutable truth that if there’s a ball and stumps involved, Shane Watson will find a way to get his leg in between them. The all-rounder limps off, putting on his trademark hangdog ‘Why always me?’ expression. Clarke’s raised eyebrows scream, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’. All that’s missing is Watto sending it upstairs.
Inzamam. Just Inzamam
22 minutes and 47 seconds of genius from the Don Bradman of comedy run outs. That the first two dismissals on the video take place within overs of each other, and could each find a place in this list by themselves, should tell you what you’re in for. Rob ‘Robelinda2’ Moody has crafted one of his great titles too, like a great artist finally finding his muse.