No clear view: Umpires in line of fire over obstruction

Only three batsman have been dismissed obstructing the field

Written by Aditya Iyer | Sydney | Published:February 27, 2012 1:57 am

In 3,249 matches played in the 41-year history of one day internationals,only three batsman have been dismissed obstructing the field. On Sunday,David Hussey nearly became the fourth.

Running from the non-striker’s end on Matthew Wade’s call,Hussey hared towards MS Dhoni as Suresh Raina rocketed the ball in from covers. In the way of the throw,Hussey held his right palm out and the ball crumpled off his glove,falling away from the ’keeper. Instantly,Dhoni was joined by the fielders inside the circle in a loud appeal,as umpire Simon Taufel and leg-umpire Billy Bowden consulted with third umpire Simon Fry.

Replays proved that it was a clear cut case of ‘hand hitting ball’ and not ‘ball hitting hand’ but the umpires decided that he was doing it to ‘protect himself’. Dhoni,very understandably,was not a happy man,as he spent a few minutes arguing with the umpires. Hussey was given the life on 17,and went on to score a match-winning 54.

“Plain and simple,he was out,” Dhoni said post match. “Here (holding his palm close to his body),I can understand if he is protecting himself. But out here (stretching his hand out further),it is not good,” he said. “In soccer,if your hands are popping out,you are penalised irrespective of what’s happening on the field. That’s why I said,plain and simple,it’s out.”

Inzi,the parameter

It wasn’t the first time that Dhoni had appealed for a batsman obstructing the field in ODIs. Six years back in Peshawar,Inzamam ul-Haq was given out for a crime far less offensive,feels Dhoni. “That time Inzi bhai defended a throw that was right at his face with his bat. Still he was given out,” added the skipper. “David was really lucky today. But it wasn’t in my hands.” It wouldn’t be,even in the second innings.

Even before the Hussey obstruction could be fully digested,another one occurred after the break. After Gautam Gambhir nudged Lee to point and took off,Tendulkar responded immediately. Crossing over from his follow-through side,Lee darted across the pitch to what would have been the silly-point area — in an attempt to observe David Warner’s throw from point. Blocked,Tendulkar found it hard to run around Lee,and threw his hands up in exasperation on falling well short of the crease. Out by the rules of the game for 14,a fuming Tendulkar turned back on a couple of occasions to check whether the Aussies would recall him. The hosts weren’t as kind as the Indians during R Ashwin’s Mankading incident in Brisbane.

“I don’t think Lee had any business being there,” said Dhoni. “Vinay was warned for darting mid-pitch in Brisbane. The umpire came to him and said ‘you’re not allowed to do that.’ That too for doing something well within the laws of the game. Lee wasn’t justified in going towards the point fielder. Then he stopped right in front of Sachin.”

Shane Watson,however,had a different take on what occurred during the run-out. “I actually thought Sachin was very disappointed in Gautam Gambhir for calling for a run. There was no run in it,” a smiling Watson said. But why didn’t he call Tendulkar back? “Oh,he was looking back furious at Gautam for calling for that run,” Watson continued. “It was Gautam who ran Sachin out. Not us.”

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