London: Did England`s Ben Stokes deserve to be given out obstructing the field when he was dismissed for 10 in the second one-day international against Australia at Lord`s on Saturday after he stopped a ball thrown back at him by fast bowler Mitchell Starc with his hand?
Many in the crowd thought so, judging by the boos that rang out around Lord`s, the London headquarters of cricket rule-makers Marylebone Cricket Club.
Here`s what the relevant rule, or Law as it`s known in cricket, has to say about such matters.
Law 37 Obstructing the field.
1. 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.