Mushfiqur Rahim was out for obstructing the field, not handling the ball, during the second Test of New Zealand’s tour of Bangladesh in December 2023. The incident occurred as follows:
- Rahim defended a delivery from Kyle Jamieson and then pushed the ball away with his right hand as it bounced away from the stumps.
- The umpires, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker, deemed this action as obstruction of the field and not handling the ball.
- This is because, according to Law 38 of the Cricket Laws of England and Wales, a batter is out obstructing the field if they “wilfully interferes with play or the fielders”. In this case, the umpires judged that Rahim’s act of pushing the ball away could have prevented a fielder from catching it.
It’s important to note that the handling the ball rule previously covered situations like this. However, a change in the laws in 2017 brought such scenarios under the obstructing the field category.
Here are some additional points to clarify:
- Some argued that Rahim’s action was unintentional and that he did not deliberately try to obstruct the field.
- However, the intentions of the batter are not relevant under the Law 38. All that matters is whether their action amounted to obstruction.
- The dismissal of Rahim was controversial and sparked debate among cricket fans and pundits.