The game of cricket is a long duration game – anywhere between one fullday to five days. It basically consists of a lot of overs (stipulated)bowled from the start of play (morning) to the close of play (evening).It also consists of two to three sessions of play. In the game ofcricket there is no continuous cricket action through a given session.There are periods where players change positions – either during theover or in between overs - where no cricket action takes place.
An over consists of six legal deliveries.
The duration between each delivery of an over and the duration betweeneach completed over is the period where no cricket action can takeplace. This particular period, where the bowler/players goes/go back totheir respective position/positions before the start of a new deliveryor before the start of an over, is the period of play where the ballbecomes dead.
During this period, for instance, one cannot get a batsman run out orstumped if he wanders out of his crease in order to check the state ofthe pitch or have a word with his partner.
There are other occasions when the umpire calls a ball dead - forinstance, if a batsman deliberately pads up to a ball and then takes offfor a run. At the completion of the run/runs the umpire shall declarethe ball dead, which means the runs are not to be counted however theball shall count as a delivery bowled.
Another instance is when the ball by mistake slips out of the bowler"shand during the course of delivery and does not reach the batsman byrolling to a stop. On most occasions the umpire shall declare the balldead; most occasions because batsmen are entitled to go to where theball has stopped and then give it a whack. However, it is not consideredsporting and so batsmen do not involve in such acts and hence the umpiredeclares the ball dead.
There are many such occasions where the umpire can declare the ball deadas and when he deems it necessary. For example: If a batsman gets hit onthe head and drops to the floor out side his crease, the umpire shallimmediately call the ball dead so as to prevent the fielding side fromeffecting a stumping/ run out.
The umpire"s discretion plays a vital role in the calling of a deadball.