Obstructing the field controversy in Sydney

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Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 11:57 [IST]
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Controversy in Sydney

Sydney, Feb 26: There was a controversy over an appeal by India against Australia's batsman David Hussey for obstructing the field in the tri-series game here at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday.

When D Hussey was finally declared not out, it did not go down well with Indian captain MS Dhoni as he was seen arguing with umpire Billy Bowden of New Zealand.

"I think he should have been out," declared former Australian captain Mark Taylor while during commentary for "Channel Nine".

Ian Chappell said: "I think he's extremely fortunate to still be there. It wouldn't have surprised if (the decision) went the other way."

Another respected commentator, Tony Greig, tweeted (@greigtalks): "There is no way Hussey should have got away with that. It was obstruction simple as that. That decision could change the result of the match."

India's Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar felt D Hussey was not out.

It all happened on the fifth ball of the 24th over bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin, when Dhoni and the rest appealed for obstructing the field against Hussey for blocking a throw from Suresh Raina as the batsman was running towards the striker's end to complete a run.

D Hussey was on 17 at the time along with Matthew Wade.

As Wade played a shot towards Raina on the offside, D Hussey ran towards the wicketkeeper's end even as Raina threw the ball to Dhoni. Hussey, in a bid to avoid the throw, put his right hand in the way and the ball hit him and did not reach Dhoni.

D Hussey's actions immediately prompted Dhoni to appeal while the rest of his team-mates joined.

On-field umpires Simon Taufel of Australia and Bowden consulted and sent the decision to be reviewed by third umpire Simon Fry of Australia.

After a close look at the replays, Fry ruled D Hussey not out which did not impress the Indian captain.

According to the new rules, that came into effect from October 1, 2011, a batsman can be adjudged out for obstructing the field if he significantly changes his direction thereby obstructing the fielder's attempt to run him out.

The third umpire felt D Hussey did not change his direction and did not interfere in the direction of the throw intentionally.

If a batsman is found obstructing the field, no matter whether a run out would have been affected or not, he can be declared out.

It can be recalled that in 2006, Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was given out for obstructing the field against India. Then too, the fielder was Raina in Peshawar.

Only three batsmen have been given out obstructing the field in ODIs. Pakistan's Rameez Raja (1987, vs England in Karachi) and Mohinder Amarnath (1989, vs Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad) of India are the other two to have been dismissed in this fashion.

During India's previous game in Brisbane, Sri Lankan Lahiru Thirimanne was run out while trying to back up too far. However, stand-in captain Virender Sehwag had withdrawn the appeal and Thirimanne continued. Bowden was one of the on-field umpires during that game.

There was also another instance during the series when Dhoni lost his cool after the third umpire pressed the wrong button to give Michael Hussey out stumped and later reversed the decision soon.


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