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Solving the strangest wicket in cricket

Photo courtesy of Nitin Madan of Moonee Valley Cricket Club
Photo courtesy of Nitin Madan of Moonee Valley Cricket Club

An interesting incident took place in Melbourne last weekend when Moonee Valley Cricket Club played Strathmore Heights, leaving many questioning the Laws of both cricket and physics.

Batsman Jatinder Singh was dismissed bowled for just 11 when his middle stump was completely removed from the ground.

However, more remarkably, the two bails were lodged against each other and remained in place.

The umpire gave the batsman out, which some individuals have questioned, given that the bails were not removed.

“I couldn’t believe it when the umpire gave me out,” said Singh, representing Moonee Valley Cricket Club.

“After I swung, I could not see the wicket properly but heard the ball hit and saw the stump on the ground.

I couldn’t believe it when the umpire gave me out

“I was walking back to the Pavilion but I heard the wicketkeeper calling the fielders over to have a look at the bails.

“There was a little bit of discussions about whether I was out or not and I was shocked to see the bails were still up!”

Captain of Moonee Valley Cricket Club, Michael Ozbun added: “The debate wasn't really about whether or not he was out, the debate was more around what the official by the book ruling is.

“Even the umpire was a little bit unsure but in the end gave him out.

“You would struggle to replicate this if you trying and will probably never see something like this again!”

Nonetheless, the umpires were right to give Singh out.

Law 28.1 (Wicket put down) states:

a) The wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground,

(i) By the ball

or (ii) By the striker’s bat if he is holding it or by any part of his bat that he is holding.

or (iii) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Law 6.8(a), by the striker’s bat in falling if he has let go of it, or by any part of his bat becoming detached,

or (iv) By the striker’s person or by any part of his clothing or equipment becoming detached from his person,

or (v) By a fielder with his hand or arm, providing that the ball is held in the hands so used, or in the hand of the arm so used. 

The wicket is also put down if a fielder strikes or pulls a stump out of the ground in the same manner.

In this incident, the middle stump was completely removed from the ground, thereby satisfying the ‘a stump is struck out of the ground’ option in 28.1 (a), so the umpire was justified in giving the batsman out, from a legal and equitable perspective.

According to MCC Laws Manager, Fraser Stewart: “The problem was caused by the wicket being incorrectly pitched, either by its positioning or the size of the equipment.

A wicket comprising three stumps and two bails of the correct size would mean the situation could not happen

“A wicket comprising three stumps and two bails of the correct size (8 5/8 inches or 21.9cm) would mean the situation could not happen.

"The ends of the bails resting on the middle stump should not be touching.

“If a mistake in setting up the wicket has been made, the umpires need to apply fairness and common sense to reach the correct decision.”

Nevertheless, the controversial dismissal did not manage to effect Moonee Valley too much, with the side going on to win the game.


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