Spirit of cricket has been the underlying theme of the Australian Test summer and it seems it is no different for the Big Bash League. A batsman was recalled by the opposing team after being erroneously called run out by the third umpire in the opening fixture of the tournament.
The first match was between defending champions Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat. Strikers had won the toss, which was done with a bat flip for the first time, and elected to bowl first. Brisbane enjoyed a good start, racing to 50/1 within the first six overs thanks to the belligerence of Chris Lynn. But over the next 6 overs, they collapsed to 92/5.
They would have lost another wicket just after their fifth thanks to what is widely being cited as an error on the third umpire’s part. It was the 13th over and Rashid Khan was the bowler. Jimmy Peirson was on strike and he played the ball to shord third man and set off for a quick single. The throw went to the striker’s end where James Pattinson seemed to have made his ground in the replay. The commentators were also seemingly confident of the fact that the big screen would be flashing ‘Not Out’ but, to the surprise of seemingly everyone involved, the third umpired declared Pattinson out.
The bat was slid in with the back side instead of front and the tip was curving away from the ground but the rule states that the batsman is not out in this situation if the bat has made crossed the crease and made contact with the ground in any manner. Ricky Ponting said on air that the third umpire had got it “100 percent” wrong. Rashid Khan’s smile indicated that the Strikers were in disbelief themselves.
Deliberations went on between the on-field umpires and the third umpire but the latter did not reverse the decision. Pattinson started walking with boos ringing out at the Gabba. He then started walking back to the crease and Adam Gilchrist soon revealed in the commentary box that Strikers’ captain Colin Ingram had told the umpires that his team would like to withdraw their appeal.
Strikers’ wicketkeeper Alex Carey who was wearing a microphone said at the end of that over that the team had indeed withdrawn the appeal. “We could see on the big screen that James was in,” Carey said. “So we just told the umpire that we all acknowledge that he was in and free to bat on. It said on the big board that it was ‘out’ and Simon said the [decision] stays, so we said fair play, bat on. I’m not sure what was seen upstairs but no worries from us.”
Ingram during the innings break told Fox Sports that he was unsure whether withdrawing the appeal was allowed. “It was a unique scenario, I ended up chatting with Benny Laughlin, and he said what is the option with withdrawing the appeal, so the initial idea came from him,” Ingram said.
“We can all clearly see that it wasn’t out, you’ll look like an idiot on TV if it isn’t, but we’ve got to back what we saw and most of our boys were happy and just wanted to get on with the game. I didn’t know if it was an option or not. All we wanted to do was get the right decision. I thought maybe they’d pressed the wrong button or something like that. It was just part of the game today.”