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Why Murali Vijay was given not-out on Anderson’s appeal for obstructing the field

James Anderson
James Anderson. (Photo Source: BCCI)

On the second day of the third Test match, Murali Vijay was saved from being given out on a strange appeal of obstructing the field. Vijay, whose vigil did not last much long despite being dropped once and also being adjudged not out on the aforementioned appeal, had a strange brush-up with the cricketing laws today.

After Vijay defended a length ball from Anderson back to the bowler on the final ball of the third over, the strange incident happened. Vijay after defending the ball back was standing outside of his crease when after initially hesitating to throw the ball, Anderson threw it towards the stumps and it hit Vijay’s pads instead. Anderson appealed for Vijay obstructing the field, the umpires had a little chat among themselves and decided to carry on the play instead of going upstairs for the decision.

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The cricketing laws about obstructing the field mention:

1. Out obstructing the field

Either batsman is out Obstructing the field if he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.  In particular, but not solely, it shall be regarded as obstruction and either batsman will be out Obstructing the field if while the ball is in play and after the striker has completed the act of playing the ball, as defined in Law 33.1, he wilfully strikes the ball with

(i) a hand not holding the bat, unless this is in order to avoid injury.  See also Law 33.2 (Not out Handled the ball).

(ii) any other part of his person or with his bat.  See also Law 34 (Hit the ball twice).

2. Accidental obstruction

It is for either umpire to decide whether any obstruction or distraction is wilful or not.  He shall consult the other umpire if he has any doubt.

The on-field umpires decided that though the ball hit Vijay, who was standing outside the crease on the occasion, he was not willfully obstructing the field according to the law, but instead it was an Accidental Obstruction.

After defending the ball back, Vijay was standing still outside his crease, not making any efforts to get back to safety. Had he even made any attempt to get back and the ball would have hit him then, he would be given out for obstructing the field but as it did not happen in this case, the umpires opined to carry on play despite appeal from the bowler.

Despite getting multiple lives, Vijay could not capitalise as his innings ended at the score of 12 when he was caught by Bairstow off the bowling of Stokes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUtAMKAJpYQ

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