Cricket is not a light hearted game. Despite of the passion and team spirit it brings some of the rules of the cricket are stern. Obstructing the field is unrelenting and one of the ten methods of dismissing a batsman in cricket. The rule dictates that either batsman can be given out if he willfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action. It is illegal to block the ball on the field, any batsman is not allowed to block the ball on purpose and can be given out “obstructing of field.
Recently Ben Stokes was given out for blocking the ball from hitting the stumps when he was returning to the crease. The instant consideration was he was protecting himself from the hard cricket ball thrown at his direction. The dismissal has existed in an international fixture before also and the conclusions have not been so polarizing.
Here are 8 instances of Obstructing the Field:
Inzamam-ul-Haq: In the middle of the first ODI between Pakistan and India in Peshawar (2006) Inzamam-ul-Haq gently tapped the ball as a defensive stroke when he was languidly going back to his crease as he stepped out of the crease to play the shot and Suresh Raina, from mid-on thrown the ball at him. Indian team appealed and he was shocked when he was given out.
After the match, he stated he can’t understand the role because in Faisalabad he was given out for leaving the ball and now he is given out for stopping it. Poor Inzamam!
Mohinder Amarnath: In 1989 Indian Batsman Mohinder Amarnath was given out and became the first Indian to be given out to the obstruction of the field. During an ODI against Sri Lanka, the right-arm fast-medium bowler Ravi Ratnayake threw a ball and Amarnath had kicked the ball away from the bowler to avoid getting out. Over Smart huh!
Mohammad Hafeez: In an ODI match between South Africa and Pakistan in early 2013, the Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez was adjudged to be running between the stumps and the throw for a runout. He was the first batsman to be out invoking the new rule introduced by the ICC in 2011, until then batsman were allowed to change their course as they ran between ends to put themselves between a throw and the stumps. Well, bad luck!
Rameez Raja: Former Pakistan batsman and now a prominent commentator Rameez Raja was given out in an ODI against England in 1987 in Karachi. He was unbeaten on 98 and while taking the second run to gets his century he prevented the ball from hitting the stumps using his bat. He was the first to be given out for obstruction in an ODI.
Anwar Ali: In November 2013, Anwar Ali was adjudged out in the second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan. He was running in a rush to get to the non striker’s end and a throw from behind struck him on his shoulder. The assumption was, Ali had anticipated the line of the prospective throw and got between the ball and the stumps purposely.
Len Hutton, the former captain of England was the first International cricketer to be given out for obstructing the field. Leg-spinner Athol Rowan threw a top edged ball at him and in a worry that the ball might hit the stumps he played it twice. This was the first and only time so far that a batsman was given out invoking Rule 37 in tests. Some record!
Yusuf Pathan: In Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013, Yusuf Pathan (Kolkata Knight Riders) saved himself from the yoker and tried to take a single. He saw Parnell (Pune Warriors India) run towards the ball and pushed the ball away with his foot. The umpires gave Pathan out for obstructing the field.
Ben Stokes: Ben Stokes’s dismissal is a catch 22 situation as people are giving two different perceptions over it. The video suggests that the batsman was horrified from the speed of the ball and as an immediate reaction he tried to prevent it from his hand, but the others point that he prevented the ball from hitting the stumps.