In a bizarre incident during the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews became the first player in international cricket to be dismissed for not taking guard within the stipulated time. The incident occurred during Sri Lanka’s match against Bangladesh when Mathews came to bat after the fall of Sadeera Samarawickrama.
As Mathews prepared to face the bowler, the chin strap of his helmet broke, causing a delay in his ability to take strike. Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan appealed to the umpire, and Mathews was dismissed for timed-out, despite not facing a single delivery.
The decision sparked widespread debate and controversy, with many questioning the fairness of the dismissal. Mathews himself expressed his frustration, stating that the match officials should have exercised common sense and allowed him time to adjust his helmet.
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However, according to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the umpires had informed Mathews beforehand how much time he had left to face a delivery. The veteran was told by Richard Illingworth that he had 30 seconds left to face the ball before he could be subjected to a time-out.
Nevertheless, the rule states that the batter needs to be ready within two minutes after the fall of a wicket. Mathews entered to bat a minute and 10 seconds after the fall of a wicket, and after reaching the crease, he was informed that he had 30 seconds left.
Due to the helmet issue, instead of informing the officials, Mathews signaled the dugout for a replacement. The rule states that the batter should inform the on-field umpires of a change in gear so that time can be managed efficiently. However, with the helmet fiasco, two minutes and 30 seconds had already passed, and as Shakib Al Hasan appealed to the umpires, Mathews was dismissed without facing a single delivery on a timeout.
The controversy surrounding Mathews’ dismissal highlights the need for a clear and consistent interpretation of the rules of the game. It also raises questions about the role of technology in cricket and whether it should be used to enforce time limits more strictly.