Bang vs NZ – Why Mushfiqur Rahim was out for obstructing the field and not handling the ball


He was dismissed in the 41st over, after defending a delivery from Kyle Jamieson into the ground and then swatting the ball away with his right hand after it had bounced up wide outside off stump. New Zealand appealed immediately and it was upheld by the TV umpire Ahsan Raza.

“A cricketer who has played over 80 Tests should know he can’t do that,” former Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal, who is on TV commentary for this Test, said on air. “Practice habit can make this happen. In the nets, batters often take the ball in hand and return it back to the bowler. Maybe Mushfiqur did it unconsciously and extended his hands. But this obviously can’t be an excuse.”

While such dismissals were classified as “handled the ball” previously, a change in the laws in 2017 removed the “handled the ball” category and brought it under “obstructing the field”.

According to Law 37.1.2, “The striker is out obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, in the act of receiving a ball delivered by the bowler, he/she wilfully strikes the ball with a hand not holding the bat. This will apply whether it is the first strike or a second or subsequent strike. The act of receiving the ball shall extend both to playing at the ball and to striking the ball more than once in defence of his/her wicket.”

Ball 40.4 wasn’t the first time Mushfiqur had attempted to touch the ball with his glove during his innings in Mirpur. In the 29th over, the first after lunch, he had tried to knock the ball away from the stumps with his right hand but failed to make contact.

The wicket eventually came against the run of play, after Mushfiqur and Shahadat Hossain had added 57 for the fifth wicket, steering Bangladesh from 47 for 4 to 104 for 5. Mushfiqur was dismissed for 35 off 83 balls.

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