Opinions were divided following a catch from Josh Lalor to dismiss Cameron White in a Big Bash League encounter between Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars at the Sydney Showground Stadium yesterday. Stars captain Cameron White slog swept a delivery from off-spinner Nathan Hauritz to deep midwicket; Lalor, stationed at the boundary line, realised that he couldn’t balance himself, so he threw the ball in the air, went past the ropes and then jumped back in to complete the catch.
The dismissal, however, didn’t have an impact on the result, as Stars, chasing an easy target of 108, closed the match down in 14.3 overs, thanks to Kevin Pietersen’s attacking 42-ball 67.
A disappointed White, speaking after the dismissal, said: “My understanding of the rule is that was six runs. The last point of contact made when he had the ball was outside the field of play. So when he throws it up, my understanding is he has to actually come back into the field of play, touch the field and then touch the ball.”
Glenn Maxwell, who is part of the Stars squad but not the match, as he is currently with the national team playing the Carlton Mid ODI tri-series, wasn’t impressed with the umpires’ decision to declare it as out either. He took to Twitter to say:
That's not out!! U can't jump from over the rope to take the catch! The rule has changed, otherwise u can catch one 20m back from the rope!— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) January 17, 2015
Think about it this way, u run over the rope and continually jump up in the air catching and throwing it up until u get back in play. Out?— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) January 17, 2015
Steve Smith had pulled off a similar catch, while representing Pune Warriors in IPL 2012, only for it to be declared void.
However, what the protesting cricketers are unaware of is that the rules were changed in October 2013 to allow such catches, as they were becoming a common practice following the advent of T20.
In fact, New Zealand pacer Trent Boult also took a similar catch last year in an ODI against West Indies to get rid of big-hitter Kieron Pollard (You can watch the video here).
Clause ‘19.4 states is reproduced as below:
19.4. Ball beyond the boundary
After it has crossed the boundary in the air, a ball may be caught, subject to the provisions of Law 32, or fielded provided that
(i) the first contact with the ball is by a fielder, not touching or grounded beyond the boundary, who has some part of his person grounded within the boundary or whose final contact with the ground before touching the ball was entirely within the boundary.
Any fielder subsequently touching the ball is not subject to this restriction.
(ii) neither the ball, nor any fielder in contact with the ball touches, or is grounded beyond, the boundary at any time during the act of making the catch or of fielding the ball.
The act of making the catch, or of fielding the ball, shall start from the time when the ball first comes into contact with some part of a fielder’s person and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control both over the ball and over his own movement.
Maxwell later acknowledged that he wasn’t aware of the rule change. He tweeted:
Happy to be proven wrong. Was unaware of the rule change.I think that it's a poor rule change, but happy to take advantage of the rule 2day!— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) January 18, 2015