Over the years, cricket has provided us with countless memorable performances etching themselves into folklore. Subsequently, these moments and images have lived long in memory and have often been a source of inspiration and delirium during troubling times.
However, there have also been instances where cricketers haven’t covered themselves in glory, although that hasn’t always been down to their negligence. There have been circumstances wherein players have been left stranded as fortune has taken its own course, mostly to the detriment of batsmen.
Thus, as the world braces itself for more days in quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, the time is ripe to walk down the memory lane and relive some of the weirdest dismissals to have occurred on a cricket field.
Without further ado, here is a look at them.
#10 Misbah-ul-Haq vs India, 2007 at Delhi
Back in 2007, Misbah-ul-Haq had recaptured the world’s imagination, although he fell agonizingly short against India in the final of the ICC World T20. In sync with the above, a couple of months later, the middle-order batsman was holding his own against the same opposition in the longest format of the game.
After crafting his way to 82 at the Feroz Shah Kotla (now the Arun Jaitley International Stadium), a moment of madness encapsulated the Pakistan cricketer.
Misbah tapped the ball towards point and immediately hared down for a single that seemed on the verge of completion. However, moments before he made his ground, the batsman decided that it was smart to jump out of the way of the throw.
And, inevitably, the ball crashed into the stumps, with the right-hander falling short and his stay at the crease in that innings up in the air, quite literally.
#9 Graham Gooch vs Australia, 1993 at Old Trafford, Manchester
Back in the 1990s, Graham Gooch was one of the premier batsmen on the planet. Unsurprisingly, the Englishman often stood out against every opposition, including Australia, even as those around him fell like a pack of cards.
At Old Trafford, in 1993, the right-hander got into his work smoothly and compiled a brilliant hundred against the Aussies. The ton grew in stature courtesy the predicament the Three Lions found themselves in, hoping to avoid another chastening defeat.
However, when Gooch’s score ticked over to 133, he was guilty of impulsiveness and in turn handed the Australians the breakthrough they craved.
The right-hander, in response to a sharp delivery by Merv Hughes, patted down the ball. It landed on the pitch and then arrowed towards the stumps, although that didn’t seem a certainty.
At that juncture though, Gooch let his instincts take over and he swatted the ball aside with his bare hands. The Australians appealed and the legendary batsman became the first Englishman to be dismissed handling the ball.
The English dailies ran stories the following day of how Gooch had handed the Aussies the Ashes. Yet, it seemed slightly ironic that the cricketer responsible for single-handedly keeping England in the fray was left ruing that very aspect.
#8 Andy Ducat vs Australia, 1921 at Headingley
Through cricket’s gloried history, there have been numerous individuals who have been revered for their on-field displays. On the flip side though, there have also been cricketers who have sat on the other side of the fence, rather being remembered for a comical moment or ill turn of fate. And, it’s fair to say that Andy Ducat falls into the latter category.
After finally earning his debut, the Englishman, when batting on 3, produced one of the weirdest cricketing dismissals known to mankind. Ted McDonald, the Aussie pacer, rattled a delivery into the pitch and it bounced awkwardly. Ducat, in an attempt to push the ball, ended up knicking it.
To add to the Englishman’s woes, a chip flew off the shoulder of his bat and the ball lobbed tamely towards slip. And, to top it off, the shredded piece of willow kissed the bails on its way down.
Ultimately, he was given out caught at slip. And, all that effort and wait for the Three Lions cap ended in a mixture of misfortune and helplessness.
#7 Inzamam-ul-Haq vs India, 2006 at Peshawar
Inzamam-ul-Haq is perhaps one of the most gifted batsmen to have ever graced the game. The right-hander’s style brimmed with elegance and there weren’t many who made batting look as easy.
However, the former Pakistan skipper was also one of those cricketers who often found himself in the limelight for the absurdity of his dismissals. And, one such instance occurred in 2006 against India.
When batting on 16, Inzamam pushed the ball towards mid-off and took a couple of paces down the track, anticipating a single. Suresh Raina, though, gathered the ball swiftly and took a potshot at the batsman’s end.
Rather inexplicably, the Pakistan batsman decided to swat the throw away with his bat, despite being out of his ground. The Indians appealed and the former was sent packing.
To provide further context, Inzamam was dismissed a few weeks prior when he didn’t block the throw and instead lifted his back foot. And, those two instances just added to his legend.
#6 Azhar Ali vs Australia, 2018 at Abu Dhabi
Pakistan had grown into the ascendancy at Abu Dhabi and seemed primed for a massive victory against the Aussies. In fact, the Asian side began promisingly in their second innings with Azhar Ali leading their charge.
However, when on 64, the right-hander produced one of the greatest moments of brain fade the game has ever seen.
After nudging the ball behind point, Azhar meandered down the track expecting the ball to thud into the advertising cushions. It seemed normal behaviour considering batsmen usually try conserving their energy in the unforgiving conditions in the Middle East.
The only discrepancy though, was that the ball never reached the boundary. Mitchell Starc stopped it before the fence and hurled a throw towards Tim Paine. The wicket-keeper whipped off the bails in a trice and Azhar was left wondering what had truly transpired.
#5 Andrew Symonds vs Sri Lanka, 2006 at Melbourne (Docklands)
Towards the end of the 2000s, Andrew Symonds had morphed into an exemplary middle-order dasher capable of turning matches around on his own. In fact, the Australian got into one of those belligerent moods in the opening match of the VB Series in January 2006 against Sri Lanka.
However, those attacking instincts also brought about his downfall, albeit rather comically.
The right-hander absolutely laced a Jehan Mubarak delivery towards the non-striker, Michael Clarke. The latter, taken aback by the strength of the shot, couldn’t get out of the way, meaning that the ball struck his ankle. The ball then lobbed up towards Tillakaratne Dilshan at mid-wicket, who gobbled up the chance.
Neither of the Australian batsmen could control their laughter and wryly smiled at each other after the freak dismissal, even signalling for a post-match pint. And, one reckons they would’ve had a lot to discuss.
#4 Salman Butt vs England, 2005 at Multan
Rather eerily, Pakistan cricketers have been synonymous with weird dismissals, although they haven’t always been in the wrong. One such incident took place in November 2005 when Salman Butt became Shaun Udal’s 1st Test wicket.
Batting on 74, the left-hander lost his patience and swiped agriculturally at a delivery outside the off-stump. The ball flew off his outside edge and pummeled into Marcus Trescothick’s forehead, before being pouched by Geraint Jones.
Finally, after 17 years, Shaun Udal had his first Test scalp. Quite a way to end a 17-year wait, wasn’t it?
#3 Inzamam-ul-Haq vs England, 2006 at Headingley
The only cricketer to feature twice on the list, Inzamam is rather infamously known for the farcical nature of some of his dismissals. Unfortunately, that trend only got solidified at Headingley, a ground which had seen another mysterious dismissal, 85 years ago.
Batting on 26, Inzamam seemed hard-bent on carrying Mohammad Yousouf and Younis Khan’s good work to negotiate a safe haven for his side. However, at that juncture, the Pakistan skipper decided to sweep Monty Panesar.
Though there was nothing wrong with the choice of the shot, the execution fell way short of expectations.
The delivery first struck Inzamam on the ribs before the batsman lost his bearings and of course balance. He then tried to showcase his agility by hurdling over the stumps, knocking them (and nearly Chris Read) down in the process.
At the end of it all, the Pakistan captain was left on all fours after having fallen over. And, the rest of his team followed suit as they tripped up to lose the Test despite gaining a first-innings lead.
#2 Peter Nevill vs Melbourne Stars, 2016 at Melbourne (Docklands)
Peter Nevill was involved in one of the most ludicrous run-outs the game has ever seen. In a keenly contested Melbourne Derby, the wicket-keeper, alongside Dwayne Bravo looked to carve out a victory for the Melbourne Renegades.
However, in the 13th over, things turned rather pear-shaped. The West Indian creamed a straight drive towards Nevill, the non-striker. The latter couldn’t get out of the way and the ball struck his bat, which was in his left hand.
The ricochet then smacked Adam Zampa (the bowler) on the nose before disturbing the furniture at the bowler’s end. Nevill was out of his ground and he had to walk back to the pavilion in bizarre circumstances.
Yet, that dismissal certainly proved that poking your nose into other people’s business is fruitful at times, although it may have physical consequences.
#1 Vasbert Drakes vs Free State, 2002 at East London
Cricket houses more than 10 modes of dismissals but none are as rare as being timed out. To put things into perspective, batsmen usually gather the wherewithal to face daunting bowlers, even if the task might seem arduous.
However, that theory goes for a toss if the batsman is not present at the ground, or for that matter, in the country altogether. And, rather funnily, Vasbert Drakes has the distinction of doing exactly the same.
After being named to play for Border against Free State at East London in 2002, the West Indian was en route from Colombo. However, to his dismay, his flight got delayed, meaning that he couldn’t arrive in South Africa on the day of the game. Unsurprisingly, he was timed out.
After all, time, tide and certainly cricket, waits for none.Published 13 Apr 2020, 19:08 IST