The boundary law which saw Matthew Wade lose his wicket in controversial circumstances in the Big Bash League has come in for scrutiny again after an apparent umpiring error in the first T20I between West Indies and Ireland.
The incident occurred on the first ball of the ninth over, with Kevin O’Brien batting against the bowling of West Indies captain Kieron Pollard. The Ireland opener hit the ball over backward point, where Hayden Walsh Jr., diving athletically, was adjudged by third umpire Jacqueline Williams to have hauled the ball back in, and two runs were awarded.
This was just given as two runs instead of four in spite of the fact that the fielder obviously ran outside /beyond the rope before knocking the ball back in. This is blatant compared to the Renshaw play. Lawmakers need to make this crystal clear. pic.twitter.com/SG3XhYHWk3
— Peter Della Penna (@PeterDellaPenna) January 15, 2020
However, it seems an error might have been made. While at no point was Walsh at contact with the area outside the boundary and the ball at the same time, his final contact with the ground before his first contact with the ball came outside of the playing area. Law 19.5.2 states: “A fielder who is not in contact with the ground is considered to be grounded beyond the boundary if his/her final contact with the ground, before his/her first contact with the ball after it has been delivered by the bowler, was not entirely within the boundary”. As such Walsh should have been adjudged grounded beyond the boundary and Ireland awarded four runs.
While there were similarities to the incident involving Matthew Renshaw in a recent BBL game, the key difference was the final point of contact with the ground before the first contact with the ball, and while the right call was made in the Renshaw case, and seemingly the wrong one this time, some still believe it’s the law itself that needs changing, rather than the implementation of it.
“It is out, I thought it was out at the time, I don’t think it should be out,” said Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker on the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast in relation to the Renshaw incident. “The law is an ass.”
“Once you touch outside the field of play you become outside the field of play, is the instinctive feeling,” said host Ben Gardner.
The two saved runs almost proved pivotal in a tight contest, with West Indies needing a last-ball six to secure victory, but Ireland held their nerve to prevail by four runs.