AB de Villiers was initially given out caught at slip off Ravindra Jadeja but was reprieved after the third umpire ruled it as a no ball. Multiple angles were obstructed – by the non-striker or a fielder in line of vision – but after numerous viewings umpire Vineet Kulkarni made his no ball call.
What does the Law 24.5 say?
The crucial point is the position of the front foot when it lands. Some part of the front foot, landed or raised, must be behind the front line. The heel must be behind the line when the foot lands. Note, the back of the heel on the marked line isn’t enough for it to be a legal delivery.
What’s the controversy?
The doubt, articulated on air by commentator L Sivaramakrishnan in particular, was that if many of the replays – the angles – were obstructed, and clear view wasn’t available, shouldn’t the third umpire have given the benefit of doubt to the bowler?
How did de Villiers escape then?
Perhaps, there was no such doubt in the third umpire’s mind. In an angle viewed from the camera on the off side – you can see M Vijay straining ahead at short extra cover – it seems almost clear that when Jadeja’s toe lands, no part of the heel was behind the line. The leg-side camera view is obstructed by the non-striker Amla’s pad and bat but the off-side camera seems is clearer.
Can this be avoided if we go back to the back-foot no ball?
The old back foot no ball law dictated that the back foot had to be behind the line on which the stumps are placed. The bowler can drag the front foot how much ever he wants as long as the back foot was behind that line adjacent to the stumps. Umpires also could pick it earlier which also meant the batsmen got more time to react after the no-ball call. It was changed much to the consternation of the likes of former captains like Richie Benaud, Don Bradman and Ian Chappell.
Why was it changed?
Because of the perceived problem of dragging. The bowlers would now and then deliver the ball with their front foot in front of the batting crease.