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Viral club cricket clip sparks debate over niche ‘misapprehension’ law

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

A controversial piece of club cricket action has sparked a lively debate over the Laws of Cricket after a clip of the moment went viral on social media.

Various interpretations of Law 31.7, which concerns a “Batter leaving the wicket under a misapprehension”, led some to suggest a mistake had been made, with the MCC, the custodians of the Laws, intervening to settle the debate.

The dismissal in question came in a Hampshire Cricket League Division 3 encounter between Shanklin and Godshill CC and Portsmouth & Southsea CC. Shanklin and Godshill’s Seb Egerton-Read was run out in strange circumstances after he had started to walk back to the dugout thinking he was caught behind by the wicketkeeper, who had up dropped the catching chance, unbeknownst to the batter

Egerton-Read seemingly assumed he was dismissed after nicking a delivery to Portsmouth & Southsea’s wicketkeeper on Saturday. The ball lobbed to the gloveman for what should have been a regulation catch, only for the fielders to be left stunned as he was unable to hold on to the ball.

Dean Wilson, at first slip, was alert to the opportunity and grabbed the dropped ball before proceeding to run out Egerton-Read, who had already started walking towards the pavilion. Upon spotting Wilson charging in with the ball, Egerton-Read ran back to his crease but was well short as the square-leg umpire ruled him out.

However, some suggested that Law 31.7 should have seen Egerton-Read recalled. The law states, “An umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batter, not having been given out, has left the wicket under a misapprehension of being out. The umpire intervening shall call and signal Dead ball to prevent any further action by the fielding side and shall recall the batter.”

Since Egerton-Read left his crease assuming he had been dismissed, some argued that the ball should have been called dead before the run out could have taken place, and thus that Egerton-Read should have been given ‘not out’.

However, the MCC later clarified that Egerton-Read was correctly given out. With none of the umpires signalling a dead ball, the ball was still in play, and as the batter was out of his crease, the fielding side were within their rights to run him out. “If the batter is leaving his wicket under a misapprehension of being out, the ball remains live until an umpire calls Dead ball,” the organisation tweeted. “It doesn’t become dead just because he left the wicket.”

The MCC also clarified that Egerton-Read could have been recalled, but that that was at the discretion of the fielding captain, rather than the umpires.

“If Dead Ball wasn’t called, then he’s Out,” the MCC tweeted. “Fielding captain could withdraw the appeal, if he wished.”

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