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-strikers end on Matthew Wades 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 whats happening on the field. Thats why I said,plain and simple,its out.
It wasnt 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 wasnt in my hands. It wouldnt 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 Warners 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 werent as kind as the Indians during R Ashwins Mankading incident in Brisbane.
I dont 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 youre not allowed to do that. That too for doing something well within the laws of the game. Lee wasnt 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 didnt 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.