A controversial run out in a club cricket encounter between Saffron Walden CC and Frinton on Sea CC has led to a debate regarding the Laws and Spirit of Cricket.

Frinton on Sea’s overseas Bryce Street, an Australia A and Queensland player, sparked the row with his run out of Saffron Walden’s Nikhil Gorantla, with the dismissal questioned on the grounds of infringing on the dead ball and unfair play laws.

The incident occurred during the East Anglia Premier League clash’s first innings, with Gorantla, on 32, having helped build a strong platform, driving Saffron Walden to 117-1. His batting partner, Alex Peirson, defended Street, who had already claimed the first wicket to fall, back down the pitch, with the bowler collecting the ball before threatening a shy at the striker’s stumps.

He then began to walk back to his mark, seemingly in preparation to bowl his next delivery, but, upon spotting Gorantla standing on the crease rather than inside it, threw down the ball at the stumps and appealed. Gorantla had put his bat down inside the crease before adjusting. He was given out, with Frinton on Sea celebrating the wicket. A video of the incident was posted on Twitter by the East Anglia Premier League’s official account, but has since been deleted. It is available to view here and below.

The decision was questioned on several fronts. Some felt the ball should have been considered dead, with law 20 stating that “the ball becomes dead when it is finally settled in the hands of the wicketkeeper or bowler.” However, the law further states that “whether the ball is finally settled or not is a matter for the umpire alone to decide”, meaning that if the umpire felt the ball was live, then it was live, and the bowler was within his rights to attempt a run out.

“Whether the ball is finally settled is up to the bowler’s end umpire,” said Jonny Singer, a Laws of Cricket adviser. “He decided it wasn’t, so it’s not. I would have come to a different view, but I wasn’t on the field…”

Others suggested the bowler should have fallen foul of the ‘fake fielding’ law. Law 41.5 states that “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batter after the striker has received the ball. It is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not.” The argument, in this case, is that the bowler, in walking slowly back to his mark, was attempting to convince the batter that he thought the ball was dead, before running him out.

The moment proved to be a pivotal one, with Street involved several more times in a six-wicket win. Gorantla, who made a century and a double hundred in consecutive weeks for Essex Second XI earlier this summer, was a key wicket, and Saffron Walden slid from 142-2 to 157-7, with Street adding three more wickets to his tally. Though they recovered to post 218, an unbeaten century from Street sealed victory.

Watch the controversial run out below:

(2 hours, 52 minutes and 30 seconds into the stream)