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Laws: Clarification on White boundary catch

Cameron White batting for Melbourne Stars
Cameron White batting for Melbourne Stars

There was some debate in the cricket community following the dismissal of Cameron White in the Big Bash, caught brilliantly on the cow corner fence by Sydney Thunder's Josh Lalor.

Many, including Australia's Glenn Maxwell, were caught out by an update to the Laws which took effect in October 2013.

MCC confirms that the umpires were correct to give White out. Here are the key points of Law 32.3:

  • The key part, in terms of positioning, is the fielder’s first contact with the ball during the passage of play.
  • The fielder’s first contact with the ball must be made inside the boundary.  If he is airborne when making this first contact, he must have taken off from within the boundary.
  • The ball then can be fielded or caught, as long as the fielder is never in contact with both the ball and the ground outside the boundary at the same time.
  • So, on a second or third contact with the ball, the fielder can jump up from beyond the boundary and parry it back inside.  He can do this as many times as he wants, as long as he is never in contact with the ground beyond the boundary while he is touching the ball.

In the aftermath, Maxwell suggested that Law meant that the fielders could start 20 metres behind the boundary – this is incorrect and is exactly why the Law was changed in 2013 – the new wording expressly stops a fielder from starting the piece of fielding from beyond the field of play.
MCC felt that such skilful pieces of fielding should be allowed.

A fielder’s momentum will often take him beyond the boundary but he must use quick-thinking and some juggling skills to ensure he is still able to take a catch.

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