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‘Not good for the game’: Debate rages after Mathews is dimissed ‘timed out’

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews has become the first cricketer to be dismissed “timed out” in an international match during his side’s ICC Cricket World Cup clash with Bangladesh.

Mathews earned the dubious distinction as he failed to take guard and declare himself ready to face the bowler within the stipulated time of two minutes since the dismissal of the last batter.

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Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan appealed for a “timed out” dismissal, which was upheld by the on-field umpire at Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, India, where the South Asian rivals faced off amidst unhealthy playing conditions on Monday.

Mathews came into bat after the fall of Sadeera Samarawickrama in the 25th over, but was unable to secure his helmet tightly enough as the chinstrap of his helmet was broken, an action that delayed the resumption of play.

Mathews removed his helmet and gestured to the dressing room asking for a replacement helmet as the clock ticked by.

Under the tournament’s playing conditions, a new batter should be ready to face the ball within two minutes, but Mathews was seen still waiting for teammate Chamika Karunaratne to run in with a new helmet.

Al Hasan was seen chatting with umpire Marais Erasmus before making an appeal and the batter was adjudged timed out.

Following the Bangladesh appeal, the umpires held a lengthy discussion with the players including Mathews.

Mathews remonstrated with them for a while before leaving the pitch, shaking his head in dismay. He threw his helmet soon after crossing the boundary.

‘Not good for the spirit of cricket’

Most spectators appeared bemused by the decision as the 36-year-old veteran reluctantly trudged off. Some Bangladesh fans applauded the umpire’s decision.

“My point is that Mathews’s dismissal was not good for the spirit of cricket,” Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka, who smashed a century in the match, told the broadcasters.

Former Bangladesh captain Athar Ali Khan echoed the same view while commentating on the match.

“I don’t like what I’m seeing, it is not good for the game. It’s against the spirit of the game, that’s how I feel about it.

“If something goes wrong with the helmet, you should be allowed an extra couple of minutes to fix it.”

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja said it was the batter’s duty to be ready within the stipulated time.

“To a certain degree it is an onus on cricketers to learn the rules and understand the spirit of the rules,” Raja said.

Meanwhile, former South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, writing on X, formerly Twitter, said: “Well, that wasn’t cool.”

Australian Test batsman Usman Khawaja also blasted the decision.

“Angelo made his crease then his helmet strap broke. How is that timed out? I’m all for timed out if he doesn’t make his crease but this is ridic. No different then a batsman getting to the crease then taking 3 minutes to face up,” he wrote on social media.

Rare mode of dismissal

There are 10 modes of dismissal in cricket, the rarest of which is “timed out”.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly escaped being timed out when he had to rush onto the pitch after the fall of a wicket during a South Africa Test at Cape Town in 2007.

India had lost a wicket and with next batsman Sachin Tendulkar not allowed to take the field owing to the time he had spent off the pitch, and VVS Laxman taking a shower, the onus to come out fell on Ganguly, who was still in his tracksuit.

The timed-out rule in Tests was three minutes, but Proteas skipper Graeme Smith did not appeal and waited patiently for Ganguly to stride out despite exceeding the time limit.

There have been at least half a dozen such cases in first-class cricket, the most recent being Zimbabwean Charles Kunje’s dismissal in a Logan Cup match in 2017.

According to the laws of cricket, after the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batsman, the incoming player must be ready to receive the ball within two minutes.

The Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians said there have been six instances of “timed out” in first-class cricket.

“There have been no instances recorded in List A or Twenty20 cricket until Mathews,” they wrote on X.

The vastly experienced Mathews was playing in his 225th one-day international in a career that has yielded 5,900 runs and 122 wickets.

He has also played 106 Tests and 78 Twenty20 internationals.

The incident added heat to a recently developed bitter rivalry between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

There is no shortage of provocative placards in the stands and venomous celebrations on the field every time both teams have met in recent years.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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