Cricket World Cup 2023: 'Timed out' dismissal row divides the sport

Mathews had exceeded the two minutes allowed for a batsman to take strike as he attempted to secure the strapping on his helmet

By AFP

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Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews walks back to the pavilion after the controversial dismissal. — AFP
Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews walks back to the pavilion after the controversial dismissal. — AFP

Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 7:05 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 7:06 PM

Cricket's "timed out" controversy split the game on Tuesday as Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan headed for home nursing a broken finger and battered reputation.

Shakib was branded "disgraceful" by Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Mathews after he became the first player in the 146-year history of international cricket to be given timed out.

Mathews had exceeded the two minutes allowed for a batsman to take strike as he attempted to secure the strapping on his helmet.

Shakib, who on Tuesday was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a broken finger, refused to withdraw the appeal, explaining: "I had to take a decision to make sure that my team wins and whatever I had to do, I have to do it".

"I think Shakib will also be asked the question of whether a batsman like Mathews needed to be dismissed like this at that time," Bangladesh's former ODI captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain wrote in Dhaka's Prothom Alo daily on Tuesday.

However, India's veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle said the issue was not about cricket's rules.

"Let us leave the spirit of cricket out of this," Bhogle wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"It is a weak argument often used by those that are ignorant or at the wrong end of a mistake. 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, as per the laws of the game, he was out."

Ex-Bangladesh captain, turned match referee, Raqibul Hassan backed Shakib.

"Shakib made an appeal and the umpires gave their decision -- as long as it is within the laws, I don't see any problem," Hassan told AFP.

But former Bangladesh opener Javed Omar criticised Shakib for not withdrawing his appeal.

"The rule was set so that no one could take any unfair advantage," said Javed, who played 40 Tests and 59 one-day internationals for Bangladesh.

"Mathews was not taking any advantage here. Shakib should have avoided this controversy."

Many on social media reminded Mathews how he led his team during the controversial "Mankad" run-out of England's Jos Buttler in 2014 --- where a bowler runs out the non-striker in their delivery stride if the batsman is out of his crease.

Mathews defended his actions at the time, saying it had been taken "after two warnings", adding that "even after the warnings it kept happening and clearly they were taking advantage."

There was plenty of support for Mathews, with former South Africa bowler Dale Steyn saying the incident "wasn't cool", Australia's Usman Khawaja calling it "ridiculous", and former India captain Gautam Gambhir branding it "pathetic".

"I didn't enjoy what I saw out there," Pakistan great Waqar Younis said in a TV broadcast. "That wasn't good for the spirit of cricket. I am old school and I think that was a lot of drama to get Angelo Mathews out."

Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif was among those who blamed Shakib for appealing for the dismissal and not reconsidering even after being asked by the on-field umpires whether he wanted to continue with it. "Shakib should believe in winning, but not 'winning at all cost'. That was shameful," he posted on X.

Shakib had defended his decision in his post-match press conference, saying his actions were within the rules and he had no regrets.

He was supported by former England captain Michael Vaughan, who said in his experience the much vaunted "spirit of the game" had always been more honoured in the breach.

"Yes, Shakib is going to get loads of people, particularly on social media, saying he broke the spirit of the game, he's a disgrace," he told Cricbuzz.

"He's well within his rights, it's the laws of the game. It's utter nonsense talking about the spirit of the game, the umpire's got it right."


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