I was batting against a spinner when one delivery kicked up from the pitch and landed in the top of my pad, where it came to rest. I believe that under those circumstances the ball becomes dead. So I fished it out and threw it back to the wicket-keeper. But, I wondered afterwards, if he had appealed, could I have been given out Handled the ball?
No – and you’ve already answered your own question because, as you rightly say, the ball became dead the instant it lodged in your pad. But if the ball was still in play and you wilfully handled it, on appeal you would be given out in this way, And if you were to pick up and return the ball in play to a fielder without the fielding side’s permission to do so, on appeal you would be given out for Obstructing the field.
I know everybody disagrees about LBW decisions but, on this occasion even the batsman said afterwards that he thought he was out! We were playing on a very slow pitch, where every ball kept low. One delivery didn’t rise up at all after pitching. Instead, it rolled all along the ground and hit the batsman on the boot smack in front of middle stump. We all appealed, but the umpire simply called it as a No ball. Why?
What an unusual batsman! Under the revised Code of Laws issued in 2000, any delivery that rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease, whether the striker hits it or not, is now a No ball. The same also applies if a delivery bounces three times or more before reaching the popping crease.
The game started late because the light was so poor – so we had to wait until it brightened up a little. The opposition batted first and posted a reasonable score. By the time it came to our turn to bat, the light had worsened again. This didn’t bother our batsmen, since the opposition’s bowlers weren’t that good. After conferring twice, the umpires took everyone off the field, even though our batsmen wanted to carry on. Are umpires allowed to do this?
Indeed they are. Umpires have a duty of care towards all the players, not just the batsmen. Umpires must ask themselves this question - ‘is there an obvious and foreseeable risk of injury if the game continues in these conditions?’ On this very gloomy day, their answer to that question was evidently ‘yes’.
The Man In The White Coat
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