Last night’s T20 in Hobart will be remembered for a lot of things involving Glenn Maxwell, including the controversial not out call after English fielder Jason Roy claimed to have caught him out. That lifeline was enough for Maxwell to notch his second T20I century but debate continues to rage online and in the media over whether or not Roy took a clean catch.
Controversies over catches are nothing new this summer with a handful of incidents throughout the England’s tour of Australia. Not to mention other controversies surrounding a catch from around the cricketing world
It just would not be a summer of cricket without a few hotly debated calls and English wicket keeper Jos Buttler was at the centre of the controversy during a one day international last month. Steve Smith edged a ball behind and Buttler ended up with the ball in his glove. Debate raged over whether Buttler cleanly caught it or used the ground to his advantage. Replays proved to be inconclusive and the umpire’s original call stood.
Buttler was on the other end of a controversial catch back in 2015, opting to walk during the Ashes series in England. Butler was initially given not out after edging a Nathan Lyon delivery behind to Peter Nevill. There was no evidence of a nick on hot spot but Snicko appeared to suggest Buttler did the right thing but walking off the pitch.
It turns out when the governing body releases those statements to clarify or update the laws of the game, it helps to read it as you might be able to put it in to practice. Sam Billings dismissed James Faulkner during a T20 tour match this month against the Prime Minister’s XI using the boundary to his advantage. Faulkner skied the ball and Billings caught the ball before throwing it up in the air as his momentum took him over the boundary. He jumped back over the rope towards the field, catching the ball before his feet hit the ground. Under the old laws Billings needed to get his feet back in the field before touching the ball, causing plenty of confusion on social media however a change five years ago from the MCC to encourage athletic catches meant that Billings made a legal dismissal.
“Was it a catch?” debate topic number four from this past summer centred around Usman Khawaja in the Boxing Day Test and the dismissal of Stuart Broad (who shockingly got no sympathy from the Australian crowd). Khawaja dove for a catch and immediately claimed he was able to keep the ball off the turf for a legitimate dismissal. Broad and his captain Alastair Cook both felt like there was an element of doubt but had to go with the umpire’s call.
AB de Villiers
It was not just this summer where there were controversial catch rulings. Another one occurred when England played South Africa at Headingly in 2008 and AB de Villiers claimed a catch which removed Andrew Strauss, only to have his deception revealed in later replays. English captain Michael Vaughn left Strauss in no doubt about his opinion during a reported confrontation at lunch.
In the incident which kicked off Australia’s PR battle against Stuart Broad, there was no question about whether Michael Clarke held onto the ball in the first Ashes Test in 2013. Broad gave a thick edge to Clarke however after being given not out by the umpire, he stood his ground. While it should be noted there was no provision in the rule book requiring him to leave, it certainly was not a good look.
Another incident where the catch itself might not have been overly controversial but the circumstances surrounding it made plenty of headlines. In the 2003 World Cup semi-final, Adam Gilchrist gave a bottom edge onto his pad and the Sri Lankan wicketkeeper made a clean catch. Initially given as not out, Gilchrist walked anyway and settled the debate then and there as replays showed a clear edge with the bat.