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Mushfiqur Rahim Given Out for Stopping Ball by Hand

Veteran wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim has become the first Bangladesh Men’s batter to lose his wicket by obstructing the field in Test cricket. The incident happened during the post-lunch session of day one of the second Test against New Zealand on Wednesday.

In the 41st over, Rahim defended the ball against Kyle Jamieson and extended his right hand to keep the ball away which looked to have come out of instinct, though the ball was far from the stumps.

On seeing that, New Zealand players appealed immediately and the on-field umpires sent the decision to the third umpire to review. The TV umpire Ahsan Raza was satisfied after watching the replays that Rahim stopped the ball deliberately and was given out for obstructing the field.

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Since 2017, handling the ball, under which the Rahim dismissal would have come, has been included within the ambit of obstructing the field. The Laws of Cricket regarding this rule after the update reads as follows:

37.1.1 says, “Either batter is out Obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, and while the ball is in play, he/she wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.”

37.1.2 says, “The striker is out Obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, in the act of receiving a ball delivered by the bowler, he/she wilfully strikes the ball with a hand not holding the bat. This will apply whether it is the first strike or a second or a subsequent strike. The act of receiving the ball shall extend both to playing at the ball and to striking the ball more than once in defense of his/her wicket.”

With the ball still in play and Rahim ‘wilfully’ pushing the ball away, he had to be sent back to the dressing room after scoring 35 off 83 balls. Rahim’s dismissal is also the first time a batter was for obstructing the field in Tests since the rule update in 2017. While previously, seven batters have been given out ‘handling the ball’ in the history of Men’s Test cricket.

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