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Watch: Ball kid steps onto field, picks up ball after boundary save in Laws of Cricket puzzler

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders were assisted by a ball kid who jumped into the field of play and picked up the ball after Sabir Ali fell over the ropes in an attempt to save a boundary during an ILT20 clash against Desert Vipers. A dead ball was not declared.

The incident occurred during the fourth ball of the 15th over on Wednesday. Desert Vipers batter Sherfane Rutherford cut a wide ball to the right of Ali, who was fielding at backward point. Ali chased the ball and pushed it back into the field of play, inches from the boundary rope. However, as he fell over the rope in the process, a ball kid entered the field of play, picked up the ball and handed it to Ali, who threw it back to the wicketkeeper.

The incident provided much amusement to the Knight Riders fielders and the commentators as three runs were awarded to the Vipers. It was not declared a dead ball despite external intervention, with MCC Laws 20.4.2.12 stating, “Either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball when he/she considers that either side has been disadvantaged by a person, animal or other object within, or over, the field of play. However, if both umpires consider the ball would have reached the boundary regardless of the intervention, the boundary shall be awarded.”

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Another clause says: “A person, animal or object coming onto, or coming over the field of play while the ball is in play shall not be regarded as a boundary unless the umpires determine otherwise at the time that contact between the ball and such a person, animal or object is made. The decision shall be made for each separate occurrence.”

The umpires have the final say in rewarding a boundary or calling a dead ball if an external person enters the field while the ball is in play. As the ball kid did not cause any disadvantage to either team by his presence and merely picked up the ball after it had been stopped, the ball was not declared dead.

In this scenario, it was unlikely that the ball would have reached the boundary even if it had not been picked up, and a four was thus not signalled. However, had he picked the ball before it had been stopped, and had there been a clear chance of it going past the ropes, the Vipers would have got a four. According to the Laws, had the youngster interfered with and caused hindrance to Ali’s run chase, thereby causing a disadvantage to the fielding side, it would have been a dead ball.

A similar incident had panned out during an India-West Indies ODI in 2014 when the ball kid used his boot to collect the ball after Andre Russell had stopped it. Before he managed to pick it up, the ball kid entered the field of play and collected it, much to Russell’s dismay. A boundary was not called.

Watch the incident here:

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