When a runner is used, the batsman stands in position and plays shots as normal, but does not attempt to run between the wickets: the runner runs for him. The runner occupies the injured batsman's crease when he is on strike, but takes up a position away from the pitch at the umpire's discretion, typically on a pitch parallel to that being used for the game.
When the injured batsman moves off strike, he then takes up the position near the square leg umpire (not at the bowler's end), and the runner stands next to the bowler's wicket as in the normal course of play.
- A runner can only be used if the batsman becomes injured or ill during the match.
- His use must meet the approval of the umpires.
- The runner must be a member of the batting side, but not the twelfth man.
- He must also already have batted in the innings, if possible.
- The runner must wear all the external protective equipment worn by the batsman and must carry a bat.
If either the injured batsman or his runner is out of his ground, the batsman is liable to be run out or stumped. The runner is also subject to other laws such as obstructing the field and handling the ball.
The use of runners is governed by the relevant parts of law 2 of the Laws of cricket:
(a) If the umpires are satisfied that a player has been injured or become ill after the nomination of the players, they shall allow that player to have [...] a runner when batting. Any injury or illness that occurs at any time after the nomination of the players until the conclusion of the match shall be allowable, irrespective of whether play is in progress or not.
(b) The umpires shall have discretion, for other wholly acceptable reasons, to allow [...] a runner for a batsman, at the start of the match or at any subsequent time.
The player acting as a runner for a batsman shall be a member of the batting side and shall, if possible, have already batted in that innings. The runner shall wear external protective equipment equivalent to that worn by the batsman for whom he runs and shall carry a bat.
(Transgression of the Laws by a batsman who has a runner)
(a) A batsman's runner is subject to the Laws. He will be regarded as a batsman except where there are specific provisions for his role as a runner. See 7 above and Law 29.2 (Which is a batsman's ground).
(b) A batsman with a runner will suffer the penalty for any infringement of the Laws by his runner as though he had been himself responsible for the infringement. In particular he will be out if his runner is out under any of Laws 33 (Handled the ball), 37 (Obstructing the field) or 38 (Run out).
(c) When a batsman with a runner is striker he remains himself subject to the Laws and will be liable to the penalties that any infringement of them demands. Additionally, if he is out of his ground when the wicket is put down at the wicket-keeper's end, he will be out in the circumstances of Law 38 (Run out) or Law 39 (Stumped) irrespective of the position of the non-striker or of the runner. If he is thus dismissed, runs completed by the runner and the other batsman before the dismissal shall not be scored. However, the penalty for a No ball or a Wide shall stand, together with any penalties to either side that may be awarded when the ball is dead. See Law 42.17 (Penalty runs).
(d) When a batsman with a runner is not the striker:
(i) he remains subject to Laws 33 (Handled the ball) and 37 (Obstructing the field) but is otherwise out of the game.
(ii) he shall stand where directed by the striker's end umpire so as not to interfere with play.
(iii) he will be liable, notwithstanding (i) above, to the penalty demanded by the Laws should he commit any act of unfair play.
- Law 2 (Substitutes and runners; batsman or fielder leaving the field; batsman retiring; batsman commencing innings)