Sachin Tendulkar, David Hussey and Brett Lee were all involved in controversial incidents during the India v Australia ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 26 February, which brought the Laws to people’s attention.
The appeal against Hussey, who blocked a throw (which might have run him out) with his hand, is being reviewed by MCC’s Laws sub-committee, as it raised several points of Law that MCC feels are worthy of a full debate.
That sub-committee is meeting at the end of April, after which further comment on the incident will be made.
The incident involving Tendulkar was more clear cut.
Lee, had bowled from over the wicket to the left-handed Ghambir, who gently hit the ball just behind square on the off-side.
The batsmen set off for a single and Lee ran down and across the pitch to try and get the ball. He realised his teammate, David Warner, would get to the ball first and so stopped to let him complete the fielding about four metres short of the stumps and just off the wickets.
He had stopped on the line that Tendulkar was running down, forcing the batsman to take a small detour around him.
Warner’s direct hit found the batsman two or three feet short of his ground and an unhappy Tendulkar was dismissed. He later claimed that he was obstructed.
Law 42.5 states: “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball.”
The key word in the Law is ‘wilful’. Lee had taken up his position in an abandoned attempt to field the ball and it did not appear that his intention was to make it harder for Tendulkar to make his ground.
There often will be times, given the reasonably confined space in which they have to move, that bowler and batsman will be in close proximity.
They have to work their way around each other and it is only if there is a deliberate obstruction by either of them that the Law will provide a remedy for the aggrieved one.