Friday, May 11, 2012

Umpires Interpretation of Law 19.4 was wrong: MCC

The MCC's Laws Manager Fraser Stewart has this response to my question about the interpretation of Law 19.4 in a recent IPL game. I quote him in full below:
I have had a chance to review the video footage and discuss it with some of the Laws sub-committee. We are all in agreement that, sadly, the umpires got it wrong and that it should have been given out.
Mr Date clearly knows the Law but the crux is as follows:
It is the fielder’s first contact with the ball in the passage of play that is the key moment. As long as the first contact with the ball made by a fielder is done when he is either grounded within the boundary, or, if he is airborne, that he took off from inside the boundary, then it does not matter if he subsequently steps over the boundary, as long as at no point he is in contact with both the ball and the ground beyond the boundary.
In the Smith example, he was never in contact with both the ball and the ground beyond the boundary at the same time.
The Law was written so that the fielder cannot retreat beyond the boundary to make the first contact with the ball.
My sense of Law 19.4 (common cricketing sense, no more) was that "the stipulation that the first contact must be made from within the field of play (even if the leap carries the fielder over the boundary), is an excellent one, precisely because it prevents fielders from stepping 5 feet outside the boundary, leaping to catch the ball and toss it high into the field of play, and the dive back into the field of play to catch the ball." This is confirmed by his final point.

Given Mr. Stewart's clarification, Law 19.4 as written is very clear. The explanatory video complicates things in my view due to the way it segues from the Mathews example to the MCC's illustration of their law. In light of the clarification, Angelo Mathews's fielding effort in the explanatory video would still be considered successful under Law 19.4. Mathews and Voges both fielded the ball legally.

Dibyasundar Nayak interpreted the Law correctly.

It is worth noting however, that the current version of the Match Playing Conditions on the IPL's website does not include Law 19.4. It still uses the old version of Law 19. Whether this is by design or by accident, is unclear. It merely makes note of it -

"Note the introduction of new Law 19.4 - Ball beyond the boundary, dealing with the catching or fielding of a ball after it has crossed the boundary."


  1. Good to see that answer. Just a small note - the IPL playing conditions don't use an old version of Law 19 - it says that Law 19 will apply and lists some minor additions to the law. Playing conditions are often written this way, rather than spelling out eh entire laws as modified.

  2. ya i am also know about Law 19.4? what is rules of this law /