A rarest of rare dismissal seen during a club cricket match in Australia sparked debates all over the world and forced the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to intervene in order to settle the matter.
The form of dismissal was so strange that it divided the cricket world, with a section of experts and fans arguing in favour of the on-field umpire’s decision while the other stating a view in complete contrast.
The bizarre form of dismissal is from a match played in Melbourne’s club cricket scene in May 2017, where Moonee Valley Cricket Club was facing Strathmore Heights.
Representing Moonee Valley Cricket Club was batsman Jatinder Singh. Batting on 11 at the time, Singh was involved in one of the most shocking incidents seen on a cricket field when he got bowled with his middle-stump uprooted but without the two bails at the top falling off.
Middle-stump uprooted but bails don’t fall off: Out or Not Out? MCC intervenes
Nobody present on the field would’ve believed what had just happened. A picture of the middle-stump uprooted but two bails intact went viral over social media and got the entire cricket world talking about it.
The debate was about whether it was out or not out? The on-field call from the umpire was out since the middle-stump was uprooted but a very large section argued that the batsman should’ve been not out as the bails on top of the three stumps remained at their place.
As the debate turned into a heated argument, MCC, the guardians of the cricket laws, tried to settle the matter by pointing to what the ICC adopted law stated in relation to the issue.
Law 28.1 pertaining to the ‘wicket put down’ states clearly: a) The wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground, (i) By the ball or (ii) By the striker’s bat if he is holding it or by any part of his bat that he is holding. or (iii) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Law 6.8(a), by the striker’s bat in falling if he has let go of it, or by any part of his bat becoming detached, or (iv) By the striker’s person or by any part of his clothing or equipment becoming detached from his person, or (v) By a fielder with his hand or arm, providing that the ball is held in the hands so used, or in the hand of the arm so used.
Now, since the requirement of “a stump is struck of the ground” was fulfilled here, the umpire went ahead with the decision of ‘out’ on the field.
Fraser Stewart, the MCC laws manager at the time, stated much the same and also said the strange occurrence of the stump being uprooted without the bails falling off may have been caused by the dissimilar size of the sticks involved or through incorrect positioning of the sticks.
“The problem was caused by the wicket being incorrectly pitched, either by its positioning or the size of the equipment,” he said. “A wicket comprising three stumps and two bails of the correct size (8 5/8 inches or 21.9cm) would mean the situation could not happen.”
“The ends of the bails resting on the middle stump should not be touching. If a mistake in setting up the wicket has been made, the umpires need to apply fairness and common sense to reach the correct decision,” Stewart added.