In a remarkable turn of events during the World Cup 2023 group match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in New Delhi, Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews found himself etching an unfortunate entry into the annals of cricket history. In a rare and unprecedented incident, Mathews became the first batter ever to be “timed out” in the history of international cricket.
The incident transpired when Mathews was preparing to take his place at the crease. His helmet’s strap had broken, and as he walked to the batting crease, he understandably desired a replacement for the essential protective gear.
While he awaited the replacement helmet, Bangladesh’s star all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan, seized the opportunity to file an appeal against Mathews. To everyone’s surprise, the appeal was upheld, leading to Mathews being declared out. The umpires, Marais Erasmus and Richard Illingworth, had little choice but to support Shakib’s verdict.
The timing of this unprecedented dismissal was especially unfortunate for Mathews. He had been sent in to bat after Shakib had already dismissed Sadeera Samarawickrama, who had put up a commendable performance with a score of 41 runs off 42 balls. However, Mathews was denied the opportunity to face a single ball as he had to contend with the broken helmet strap issue.
Controversy and Commentary:
Following his dismissal, Mathews engaged in an impassioned debate with the umpires, explaining his predicament and emphasizing his helmet strap problem. Nevertheless, he was ultimately asked to leave the field. The decision garnered mixed reactions, with former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis expressing dissatisfaction with the call, deeming it counter to the spirit of the game.
Yet, he acknowledged that the appeal was within the confines of the rule book, allowing Bangladesh the right to seek the umpire’s ruling in their favor. Meanwhile, commentator and former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop shed further light on the situation, noting that Angelo Mathews’s helmet strap had broken as he made his way onto the field. Mathews had promptly requested a change of helmet, as he couldn’t safely secure the strap.
The MCC Rulebook:
The perplexing “timed out” dismissal is governed by Law 40.1 in the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) rulebook. According to MCC Law 40.1.1, following the fall of a wicket or a batter’s retirement, the incoming batter must be prepared to face the next ball within 3 minutes, unless time has been called. Failure to adhere to this requirement results in the batter being declared “Timed out.” In situations where no batter arrives at the wicket within an extended delay, the umpires are instructed to adopt the procedure of Law 16.3, which pertains to umpires awarding the match.
In summary, Angelo Mathews’s bizarre dismissal during the World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh marks a significant and unprecedented moment in cricket history, serving as a reminder of the intricacies and nuances of the sport’s rulebook. This incident not only sparked discussions among cricket enthusiasts but also highlighted the importance of adhering to the precise regulations that govern the game.