Kane Richardson treading on his stumps in the Big Bash League clash between Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers threw-up a complicated incident surrounding appeals.
Australian batsman Richardson accidentally trod on his stumps when playing a shot to the leg-side off the bowling of Nathan Coulter-Nile, removing the bails in the process - a fact illuminated by the BBL's innovation which sees the bails flash red when disturbed.
However, despite Richardson's actions satisfying Law 35 (Hit wicket) nobody appeared to have noticed the stumps being broken during the stroke and the batsmen set off for a run. This was quickly ratified though, as, after a replay was shown, the umpires assessed the decision and Richardson was given out.
He had not reached the edge of the playing area however, before Scorchers captain Simon Katich - after consulting with the umpires - called him back, to the delight of the home crowd. Katich later said that his team had not appealed for the dismissal, and that had led him to offer the batsman a reprieve.
Richardson continued his innings, making 20, but the Strikers were already struggling in their chase prior to the non-dismissal, and eventually subsided to a crushing 98-run defeat, knocking them out of the competition.
The incident was confusing and did not appear to have been fully reached using the Laws of the game – though without knowing exactly what was said between Katich and the Umpires we are unable to draw a definitive conclusion from this specific event.
However, it did raise two interesting aspects from the Laws.
Firstly, the nature of appeals and Law 27. Law 27.1 reads: "Neither umpire shall give a batsman out, even though he may be out under the Laws, unless appealed to by a fielder. This shall not debar a batsman who is out under any of the Laws from leaving his wicket without an appeal having been made."
This may have surprised even some hardened cricket enthusiasts who are used to assuming that, for instance, when a batsman is clean bowled, the stumps sent cartwheeling, the bowler would not have to turn and implore the Umpire to raise his finger.
Centuries of cricketing convention have dictated this, but there are instances where people being bowled is less clear-cut, i.e. where it’s unclear whether the ball or wicket-keeper, stood up to the stumps, disturbed the bails. An appeal may always be necessary regardless of the mode of dismissal.
It is also important to clarify that a batsman may be out - but not dismissed. The absence of an appeal when a batsman is, say, hit on the pads plumb-in-front of the wickets, or, as happens occasionally in Test cricket, gets a thin edge behind, would lead to them being out, under the definition of Law 36.1.
However, unless the batsman walked in this instance, they would not be dismissed as the fielding team did not appeal for the wicket.