Paddy O'Hara (CricketEurope)
The officials got in wrong when they gave out Sri Lankan Danushka Gunathilaka in controversial circumstances after an appeal by Kieron Pollard during the first ODI against West Indies.
We asked our umpiring guru Paddy O'Hara for his opinion on the incident.
"It all comes down to the umpire`s opinion. The on field umpires passed the buck somewhat to the TV man, but did indicate, with the use of the 'soft signal' that they thought it was Out Obstructing the Field.
"Law 37 states that a batsman is out under this Law if he/she wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side, by word or action. What I saw on this clip, was that the striker failed to work the ball away and it stopped close to his feet just a little behind him as he took a couple of steps in response to his partner`s call.
"The non-striker was fully committed to a quick single and the bowler was equally fully committed to field the ball. The striker was obviously saying "No run" to his partner. The striker - not sure where the ball was , appeared to take a step back, looked down to see where the ball was, and the ball was dragged back by the sole of his boot towards his wicket as he jumped backwards .
"This looked totally instinctive and accidental to me. I consider that the contact with the ball was accidental. I do not know if we heard the whole conversation between the umpires and the TV man, but he did say
(i) the delivery was fair. This was irrelevant - the dismissal would have stood, even if it had been a No ball.
(ii) he then said the striker kicked the ball away. This is true, but was it deliberate? It looked to me that he tried to avoid the ball and get out of the bowler`s way and that the contact with the ball was not deliberate. He was in no danger of being run out, but the non-striker would have been vulnerable to being run out by a direct hit. This, of course, is not relevant. It all hinges on whether or not the striker DELIBERATELY kicked the ball away to incommode the fielder.
Law 31.6 Consultation by umpires, states "....if after consultation , there is still doubt remaining, the decision shall be Not out"
From what I saw in this clip, I would have said Not out. Benefit of the doubt.
You can read more and view the clip for yourself here.