BBL 2022-23: MCC explains Michael Neser's controversial catch, declares it legal under law

Michael Neser's catch to dismiss Jordan Silk sparked debate over social media

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Michael Neser
Michael Neser (Photo Source: Twitter)

Michael Neser pulled off a controversial catch during the Big Bash League’s game between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers, and the catch has got the entire cricketing world talking. Neser's outstanding athleticism enabled him to take the catch after juggling the ball on the boundary line when Jordan Silk attempted to clear long-off at the Gabba.

Neser took the catch near the boundary line, released the ball while hopping over the rope, threw it back into the playing field mid-air, and finally picked up the loose ball after entering back into the playing area. The controversial incident took place when Sixers needed 26 runs off of 11 deliveries to win the game.

The scenario would have changed to 20 off 10 deliveries, giving the Sixers a chance to win if the catch had been ruled illegal. However, the umpire signaled it was a clean catch and declared it out. Though it was a brilliant attempt by Neser, the act has raised many questions, and fans have been questioning if it was fair play.

MCC finally settled the discussion by confirming Neser's catch as legal. Taking to social media, the MCC, in a Twitter post, pointed users to its guidelines outlining the restrictions and wrote:

“The key points are: 1) The FIRST contact must be inside the boundary, and 2) the fielder can't be touching the ball and the ground beyond the boundary at the same time.”

Law 19.5.2 states, “A fielder who is not in contact with the ground is considered to be grounded beyond the boundary if his/her final contact with the ground, before his/her first contact with the ball after it has been delivered by the bowler, was not entirely within the boundary.”

Also, rule 19.4.2 under the MCC Laws of Cricket states, “The ball in play is to be regarded as being grounded beyond the boundary if a fielder, grounded beyond the boundary as in 19.5, touches the ball; a fielder, after catching the ball within the boundary, becomes grounded beyond the boundary while in contact with the ball, before completing the catch.”

Neser's catch tick marks every rule

It is important to note that the fielder has complete discretion over how to complete the catch as long as the ball is first grabbed inside the boundary line and their feet are not grounded while the ball is over the line. The batter was rightfully ruled out since Neser's initial touch with the ball, the timing of his jump, and the subsequent catch were all in accordance with the rules of the game.

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