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Quick-thinking catchers Published: 01 August 2010

Quick-thinking catchers

You wait years for a peculiar incident to take place in cricket and then, like London buses, two turn up at once.

Spectacular catches were taken within a few days of each other by Australia’s Adam Voges and New Zealand’s Jacob Oram. On each occasion, they caught the ball just inside the boundary but their momentum was going to take them over the rope.

In moments of quick thinking, they threw the ball up before stepping over the boundary, regained their balance and
composure off the field before stepping back onto the field to catch the ball they had tossed up a few moments earlier.

Some questioned whether this should count as a fair catch but the Laws were changed in 2000 to allow exactly this scenario.

Law 32.3 states: "A catch shall be considered to have been fairly made if

(a) throughout the act of making the catch

(i) any fielder in contact with the ball is within the field of play.

(ii) the ball is at no time in contact with any object grounded beyond the boundary."

Law 32.4 (b)(ii) clarifies the matter further: "Six runs shall be scored if a fielder catches the ball and subsequently touches the boundary or grounds some part of his person over the boundary while carrying the ball but before completing the catch."

The catch is considered to be complete once the umpire is convinced that the fielder has control over both the ball and his own movement.

At the moment that Voges and Oram tossed the ball in the air, they had control of it but not of their momentum, which was taking them over the boundary.

If the ball simply fell to the ground before they had a chance to get back onto the field to make the catch, the first "catch" would not have been sufficient to dismiss the batsman, and the ball would still have ben in play.

In both Voges’ and Oram’s catches, the ball was caught for the second time by the same fielder who had originally caught it and tossedit up.

However, it would also be legal for any fielder to catch the ball thrown up by a team-mate, as long as he himself is within the field of play when in contact with the ball.

The fact that the catch is not completed until the fielder has control of the ball as well as over his movement is also relevant in catches where the fielder has dived.

Sometimes the fielder will have total control of the ball in one hand but his momentum from the dive causes him to slide along the ground.

The ball in the fielder’s hand or hands must not touch the ground while the fielder is still moving from the dive.

However, once he has stopped moving, he is considered to have regained control over his movement and it does not matter if the ball then touches the ground as he pushes himself up off the ground.


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