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Angelo Mathews timed out: Perspectives & Points of view

CWC 2023, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews becomes the first ever player to be timed out in cricket. ICC rules and how cricket fraternity react to it.

CWC 2023, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka_ Angelo Mathews becomes the first ever player to be timed out in the history of cricket _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Mathews becomes first ever player to be timed out (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)

In a high-stakes clash against Bangladesh in Delhi on Monday, cricket enthusiasts bore witness to an unprecedented moment as Sri Lankan veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews became the focal point of an extraordinary dismissal, marking a first in international cricket across all formats. Mathews, who entered the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 as a late replacement player, was officially declared 'timed out' by the on-field umpires.


This extraordinary incident occurred in the 25th over of the first innings, shortly after Sri Lanka's in-form batter, Sadeera Samarawickrama, was caught in the deep by Litton Das, off the bowling of Bangladesh's skipper, Shakib Al Hasan. Mathews stepped in to bat at No.6 and encountered an unexpected challenge when his helmet strap broke while he was taking guard. Mathews signalled to the dressing room for a new helmet. During this brief delay, the Bangladesh team, led by Shakib, seized the opportunity and appealed for a "timed out" dismissal.


Following an extended discussion involving both teams, the on-field umpire, Marais Erasmus, ultimately declared Mathews 'timed out'. This decision has sent shockwaves through the cricket community, whether it's due to Bangladesh skipper Shakib's appeal or the umpire's ruling.



The MCC ‘Timed Out’ Rule as it is

According to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) rule, which states, "After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within three minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out."


However, the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 playing conditions specify a two-minute time frame for the same situation: "After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 2 minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out."


An emotional Angelo Mathews made his objections clear and even requested Shakib Al Hasan to withdraw his appeal, but Shakib refused to do so. Mathews expressed his frustration by discarding his helmet as he left the field. Even Sri Lankan skipper Kusal Mendis and former Sri Lanka player Chandika Hathurusinghe engaged in discussions with the Bangladesh coach about this unusual dismissal.


Mathews' 'timed out' dismissal represents the first instance of a batter being declared 'timed out' in international cricket, whereas there have been six such cases in first-class cricket. This unprecedented incident has left fans and experts alike in awe, fuelling conversations about the rare application of this rule and its impact on the game.


As the cricketing world reflects on this extraordinary event, one thing is certain: Angelo Mathews' dismissal under the "timed out" rule will be etched in the annals of cricket history, adding a new chapter to the sport's ever-evolving dynamics.


Adrian Holdstock, the fourth official umpire, elucidated the dismissal and the relevant laws during the innings break. "The ICC World Cup playing conditions take precedence over the MCC laws of cricket," Holdstock clarified. "We have specific protocols, and the TV umpire monitors the two minutes. He will then relay the message to the on-field umpires. In this afternoon's instance, the batter wasn't ready to receive the ball within those two minutes, even before the strap issue occurred."


When questioned about equipment failure, he emphasised that the batter needed to ensure all equipment was in working order before stepping onto the field. "I believe it's crucial to have all your equipment in place to ensure you are ready to receive the ball within two minutes, not merely ready to prepare or take your guard. Technically, you should be there within perhaps 15 seconds to ensure all those things are in place before you actually receive the ball."


CWC 2023, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka_ Shakib Al Hasan explaining Angelo Mathews's time out situation_ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©mufaddal_vohra_Twitter)
Shakib explaining Mathews's time out situation (Photo: ©mufaddal_vohra/Twitter)
Shakib Al Hasan breaks down the incident

In the post-match press conference, Bangladesh's skipper Shakib Al Hasan stated, "One of our fielders came to me and said, if you appeal, the law says he's out. So, then I appealed to the umpires, who asked me if I was going to call him back or not. I said I wouldn't call him back. It was within the rules that a batter had to reach the crease within that specified time, and he wasn't there at that time."


While Mathews, the central figure in the incident, disagreed with Shakib and claimed that he was ready before the timer had run out. "I had two minutes to get to the crease and prepare, which I did. Then it was an equipment malfunction. I don't know where common sense went because it's clearly disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh," Mathews remarked.


How did the cricket fraternity react?

Renowned cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle criticised Angelo Mathews for his conduct following his 'timed out' dismissal. Bhogle conveyed his thoughts on X, formerly known as 'Twitter': "Here, Mathews was not gaining any advantage nor was he seeking any. If Mathews had asked if it was okay to change his helmet, I am certain there would have been no appeal. But there are laws, and you play within them. Beyond that, how to play the game is an individual choice. Mathews and Sri Lankan fans can be disappointed and angry, but according to the laws of the game, he was out."


Australian batter Usman Khawaja also raised questions about the incident, stating, "Angelo made his crease, then his helmet strap broke. How is that timed out? I'm all for a timed-out if he doesn't make his crease, but this is ridiculous. No different than a batter getting to the crease and then taking 3 minutes to face up." Khawaja shared his thoughts on his social media platform, X.


In this extraordinary turn of events, cricket witnessed a truly remarkable incident that has left the cricketing world in debate and discussion. Angelo Mathews' 'timed out' dismissal will undoubtedly be remembered as a significant moment in the ever-evolving history of the sport.



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