Fact Check: Did Pakistan Intentionally Move Boundary Ropes Behind During Netherlands Innings In World Cup Match?

Pakistan men's cricket team could have landed themselves into a controversy after the Netherlands match as the boundary ropes was moved behind for half an hour during the Cricket World Cup 2023 match

Fact Check: Did Pakistan Intentionally Move Boundary Ropes Behind During Netherlands Innings In World Cup Match? Pakistan fielding during Netherlands match. (Source: X)

A shocking incident took place during the Pakistan vs Netherlands match in Cricket World Cup 2023 at Rajov Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. The boundary ropes at one part of the ground appeared to be moved behind from its original position for a good 30 minutes or so when the Netherlands were chasing. This move was against the laws laid down by MCC, which is followed by International Cricket Council (ICC). 

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The incident, which could have been boiled into a big controversy if a six was hit in that region duing this small phase in the game, was noticed after the fifth ball of the 21st over in the second innings when Pakistani were fielding and Netherlands were batting. The boundary cushion was seen moved at least a feet away from the marked white line which signifies the exact position of the boundary. 

In modern day cricket, the ropes have been replaced by boundary cushions which usually have some ad posters on them. But there is always a white line on which these cushions are placed. If fielders push these cushions behind while fielding, the need to put it back. Often the fielders are seen putting the cushion back to its original place after pushing it back. 

Did Pakistan players intentionally do it?

One cannot, for sure, say that it was the fault of the fielding team, which is Pakistan in this case. Or that any Pakistani fielder intentionally did it. But what could have happened is this: A Pakistan fielder dived near this portion of the ropes and in the process pushed the ropes behind. The lack of awareness or the laws knowledge came into effect and the ropes were not pushed back into the right position. There may not have been the ball boy or any other person to do the same. It is also interesting that neither the match officials nor the commentators could spot the break of law. 

What does the law say?

As per MCC’s Laws on Boundaries, if the solid object – the cushion in this case – that marks the boundary, is disturbed for any reason, then Clause 19.3.2 states, “The object shall be returned to its original position as soon as is practicable; if play is taking place, this shall be as soon as the ball is dead.”

In this case, if a Netherlands batter hit the ball in the same direction and it landed between the white line and the boundary cushion, it would have been given a six. Clause 19.3.1 states that “the boundary shall be considered to be in its original position” if it is disturbed for any reason.