MCC wishes to clarify the Law relating to catches near the boundary, following an incident in the Vitality Blast Final.
Somerset’s Will Smeed hit the ball towards the square leg boundary, where two Kent fielders converged, both trying to take the catch. Jordan Cox held onto the ball, remaining wholly within the field of play at all times, but collided with team-mate Daniel Bell-Drummond, who tumbled to the ground.
Part of Bell-Drummond’s body was clearly touching and beyond the boundary but his legs were within the field of play while they were in contact with the legs of Cox, who had already caught the ball.
Did this chain of contact with Bell-Drummond mean that Cox was deemed to be beyond the boundary? The TV umpire reviewed the footage and decided that it should be Not out, with a boundary 6 being awarded.
MCC amended this area of the Law in 2017 to cater for just this eventuality. Law 19.5 states:
19.5 Fielder grounded beyond the boundary
19.5.1 A fielder is grounded beyond the boundary if some part of his/her person is in contact with any of the following:
- the boundary or any part of an object used to mark the boundary;
- the ground beyond the boundary;
- any object that is in contact with the ground beyond the boundary;
- another fielder who is grounded beyond the boundary, if the umpire considers that it was the intention of either fielder that the contact should assist in the fielding of the ball.
It is the last bullet point that is relevant in this case.
If two fielders are in contact accidentally, then the fielder within the field of play is not deemed to be beyond the boundary. If, however, the fielder beyond the boundary is doing something to assist his/her team-mate, such as supporting or lifting them, then such a wilful action would mean that both fielders are deemed to be beyond the boundary.
Laws of Cricket