Obstructing the field controversy displeases McCullum
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Big Bash League 2018: Debate Rages over Obstructing the Field Controversy

KFC Big Bash League (BBL) saw a controversial decision in a match between Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes when Heat batsman Alex Ross was given out for obstructing the field. Heat needed 49 off 19 at that stage, and they eventually went on to lose the game by three runs.

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Brendon McCullum, Brisbane Heat captain, felt it wasn’t a right decision. He also admitted that Hurricanes captain George Bailey missed the opportunity to maintain the true spirit of the game.

Firstly, I don’t believe it was the right decision. We’re not righteous about our stance on the spirit of the game. But I think every now and then you get an opportunity to stand up for the spirit of the game. Tonight, I think the Hurricanes and George (Bailey) missed an opportunity,” McCullum said after the match.

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The incident took place in the 17th over of the game when Ross pulled a Tymal Mills delivery to deep midwicket and went for the second run. Jofra Archer fired a wide throw to the striker’s end. Ross, who was sprinting back, changed his path to avoid being struck by the ball. But the ball got deflected off his bat and hit the stumps. The initial appeal from Hurricanes was for the run-out, but when they saw that Ross was in, the appeal was made for obstruction of the field and the third umpire gave it in favor of the visiting team.

Law 37.1 of cricket states a batsman can be out obstructing the field:

if he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.”

Meanwhile, McCullum was seen having a long chat with the umpires and Bailey after the match.

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We were debating the philosophical merits of one another’s points. Whatever the rules are, to be honest, I don’t really care what the rules are. To me, that’s one of those grey areas about the definition of that rule, just like a Mankad is a grey area as well in terms of the rules that we have,” McCullum said.

On the other hand, Bailey admitted that they had done no wrong as match officials took the decision.

“I think (Ross) was trying to veer away from the ball. If you do check the laws it’s about willfully obstructing the field. Again, none of that matters because to me it is a grey rule. When it’s grey, then it comes into the definition of the spirit of the game.

“Look, that’s the way we want to play the game. Other teams don’t have to play like that. I think we’ll certainly endear ourselves to a select group of fans for the way we play and you can judge the others how you want,” he signed off.

The return fixture is on January 15 at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.

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Ankush Das

I am an accountant by qualification, my parents thought their obedient son would study further to become a CA, but I had other things in mind. An ardent Cricket fan is following his passion and making a living watching and working around his favorite sport.