Yusuf Pathan became the first player in the history of the Indian Premier League 2013 to be given out obstructing the field © PTI
Yusuf Pathan became the first player in the history of the Indian Premier League 2013 to be given out obstructing the field © PTI

In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013, Yusuf Pathan became the first person in the tournament’s history to be given out obstructing the field. Sarang Bhalerao looks at the history of this unusual mode of dismissal at the international level.

According to Law 37: “Either Batsman, on appeal, shall be out Obstructing the Field if he willfully obstructs the opposite side by word or action.” On Wednesday, Yusuf Pathan willfully kicked the ball away from Wayne Parnell and after due consultation of the umpires he was given out obstructing the field.

Let us have a look at some of the other batsmen who have suffered this fate.

Len Hutton: England vs South Africa, The Oval, 1951

Sir Len Hutton remains the only person in Test cricket to be adjudged out ‘obstructing the field’. When South Africa’s Athon Rowan induced Hutton in to playing a false shot, the ball hit Hutton’s bat handle and rose up in the air. Hutton used his bat to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps thus denying wicket-keeper Russell Endean to catch the ball. The South Africans appealed and Hutton was declared out. Read: Len Hutton becomes first to be given obstructing the field in Test cricket

Rameez Raja: Pakistan vs England, Karachi, 1987

Rameez Raja became the first batsman to be declared out ‘obstructing the field’ in a One-Day international game when he intercepted the throw off the final ball of the match with his bat in order to avoid being run-out. Raja was batting on 98 when the final ball was bowled. He was declared out and Raja scored 99. Pakistan lost the match by 23 runs.

Mohinder Amarnath: India vs Sri Lanka, Ahmedabad, 1989

Amarnath kicked the ball away from the bowler to avoid being run-out. He didn’t earn any contract from any football club but Amarnath suffered the ignominy of being the first Indian to be dismissed out ‘obstructing the field’. Amarnath was also the first Indian to be given out ‘handling the ball’ against Australia at Melbourne in 1985.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Pakistan vs India, Peshawar, 2006

Amidst the darkness at Peshawar, Inzamam punched S Sreesanth to mid-off where Suresh Raina picked up the ball and threw it towards the striker’s end. Inzamam stopped the throw with his bat. Indians appealed vociferously. The on-field umpires Asad Rauf and Simon Taufel consulted each other and Taufel ruled Inzamam out. Inzamam was befuddled. He was confused with the laws of the game and argued with the umpires. Later he said, “In my role as the Pakistan captain, I would say that the appeal from the Indian fielders was against the spirit of cricket. Certainly, there are several modes in which a batsman can be declared out, but many of them are not in the spirit of the game. I am particularly referring to obstructing the field, handling the ball and hit-the-ball twice dismissals; also about the illegal practice of underarm bowling and running out a batsman while backing up.”

Mohammad Hafeez: Pakistan vs South Africa, Durban, 2013

Pakistan opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez was given out obstructing the field in a One-Day International (ODI) against South Africa. Hafeez’s body blocked a throw by South Africa wicket-keeper AB de Villiers as the batsman ran to the non-striker’s end.

Hafeez changed the course of his run to prevent a run out and according to the modified rule introduced by the International Cricket Council in 2011 he was given out.

Hafeez (0) irately ripped off his gloves when the decision was made by TV umpire Billy Bowden after an appeal by the South Africans.

Earlier the batsmen were allowed to change their course as they ran between ends to put themselves between a throw and the stumps, but that law was modified two years ago. Hafeez was the first batsman in international cricket to be dismissed under the new rule.

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)