Cricket is a really funny game!! It does not fail to amaze — sometimes its duration and sometimes its rules. Another unusual incident took place during the second Australia vs West Indies T20 International at the Adelaide Oval on February 11, 2024.
Australia were denied the wicket of Alzarri Joseph as they did not appeal for a runout. The replays showed Joseph was a yard short of crease when Spencer dislodged the bails. But, the laws of cricket explicitly state that the umpire can adjudge a batter out only after the fielding team appeals.
Here’s what the MCC law on appeals states
According to section 31.1 of the rules laid down by Marylebone Cricket Club, the custodian of and arbiter for the game of cricket globally, an umpire should not adjudge a batter out without the fielding side appealing.
“Neither umpire shall give a batter out, even though he/she may be out under the laws, unless appealed to by a fielder. This shall not debar a batter who is out under any of the laws from leaving the wicket without an appeal having been made,” the rule says.
The MCC laws also explain when a batter will be deemed dismissed. “A batter is dismissed if he/she is either given out by an umpire, on appeal or out under any of the laws and leaves the wicket as in 31.1.”
So, what exactly happened during Australia vs West Indies’ 2nd T20 in Adelaide?
Chasing 242 runs, West Indies were nine wickets down in the 19th over. Joseph drove to a ball to the covers and ran for a single. Mitchell Marsh collected the ball and threw it to Spencer Johnson, who dislodged the bails.
Given that the target was out of reach for West Indies, there was very little excitement among the fielders. And the bowler Johnson was on his way back to his mark.
The big screen on the ground showed that Joseph was way short of the crease, but onfield umpire Gerard Abood was heard saying, “No appeal.”
Tim David protested that he did appeal, but the umpire stuck to his judgement. Eventually, Australia won the match by 34 runs.
Who said what on the runout controversy?
Glenn Maxwell: “I think the umpire deemed that no one had appealed, and there were a few of us who thought we did appeal. To be fair, I understand; it wasn’t like it was a screaming appeal from everyone, but it was probably one of those things where you expect it to go up to the third umpire; we thought it was pretty close, and there were a few of us putting our hands up.”
“We sort of stopped, thinking he’d sent it upstairs, and everyone turned around watching the big screen, and the batter had already started walking off. So it was just confusing — thank God it didn’t cost the game. Just one of those weird rules in cricket… we should probably just be a bit louder with our appeals.”