Mathews may have avoided 'Timed Out' dismissal on alerting umpires to helmet issue quickly, says MCC

by IANS |

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) stated that the umpires were correct in their decision to rule Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews ‘Timed Out’ in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup against Bangladesh, and added that the all-rounder could have avoided the dismissal if he had alerted the on-field umpires about the issue in his helmet.

At the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on November 6, Mathews on Monday became the first cricketer to be dismissed 'timed out' in international cricket. But he encountered a delay in taking the guard as a strap of his helmet broke and Mathews signaled to the dugout for a replacement helmet.

This prompted Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan to appeal for a 'timed-out' dismissal, following which the on-field umpires declared Mathews out by that mode, leading to many opinions around it, especially in the aftermath of the incident.

The MCC Law 40.1.1 states: “After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 3 minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out.”

But the World Cup Playing Conditions meant the relevant timing went from three minutes to two minutes. “The key part of the Law, on this occasion, is that the batter must ‘be ready to receive the ball’. Being on the field, or even at the wicket, is not enough to avoid being Timed out.”

“The batter must be in position for the bowler to be able to bowl inside the allotted time. The umpires determined that Mathews was not ready to face the ball within that two-minute allowance. He subsequently suffered an issue with his helmet, causing further delay.”

“Had the umpires been informed of a significant, justifiable, equipment-related delay within the two-minute allowance, they could have treated it as a new type of delay (as they would when, for example, a bat breaks), possibly even calling Time, allowing for a resolution of that delay without the batter being at risk of being Timed out. However, it is important to note that both umpires determined the delay came after the two minutes had elapsed, and that Time had not been called before the appeal,” said the MCC in its statement.

Following the match, Mathews took to micro-blogging platform X to post a video evidence which showed he had five more seconds to take his position at the crease. But the MCC backed the on-field umpires over the decision made.

“Having taken more than 90 seconds to get to the 30-yard circle, Mathews appeared to notice that he was short on time, jogging the final few yards to the wicket. His helmet malfunction has since been shown to have taken place 1 minute and 54 seconds after the previous wicket had fallen. He had not, at this stage, begun to take guard and was not close to being in a position to receive the ball.”

“When the helmet broke, it appears that Mathews did not consult with the umpires, which a player would be expected to do when seeking new equipment. Rather, he just signalled to the dressing room for a replacement. Had he explained to the umpires what had happened and asked for time to get it sorted out, they might have allowed him to change the helmet, perhaps calling Time and thus removing any possibility of being Timed out.”

“Given that Time had not been called, and that at the time of the appeal more than two minutes had elapsed, the umpires correctly gave Mathews out. In fact, there was no other action for the umpires to take within the Laws of Cricket,” it concluded.

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