8th October 2014
Patrolling the Boundary – a view from the outfield
Some years ago the Australians introduced the practice of constantly throwing the ball to the wicket-keeper every time it was played into the outfield. Fairly often the throw would be dangerously close to the striker, an unnecessary and unacceptable situation.
Last Sunday this happened in the T20 match in Dubai between Pakistan and Australia. Pakistan’s Shehzad caught a ball which had been thrown directly at him, to avoid being hit and Australia’s Brad Haddin angrily told him to move out of the f…ing way.
The batsman is entitled to stand in his ground but not move into the line where the ball is thrown and it is the fielder’s responsibility to ensure his throw is away from the batsman. The tactic of throwing near the batsman is a deliberate attempt to intimidate and unsettle the batsman and needs to be stamped out.
Neither the on field nor third umpire did anything about Haddin’s foul mouthed abuse, neither did the match referee, even though Shehzad complained to the on-field officials. Increasingly, there are instances of loutish behaviour on the field which go unpunished. Haddin’s reaction was called ‘playing the game with passion’. It is nothing of the sort. It was vulgar and he should have been penalised. There is no place in the game for this type of behaviour.
John Holder is a highly respected former international umpire, who stood in Tests & ODIs between 1988-2001, and in 1st-class cricket from 1982-2009. He was also the innovative mind behind the introduction of the ‘bowl-out’ to settle washed out one-day games.