Heat player Alex Ross departs after being given out for obstructing the field on Wednesday night.
Heat player Alex Ross departs after being given out for obstructing the field on Wednesday night.

Think about ‘mum, dad and the kids’

QUEENSLAND cricket has launched a thinly veiled attack on match officials and Cricket Australia for putting "a forensic examination of the rule book" ahead of "mum, dad and the kids" in the wake of the BBL's 'obstructing the field' furore at the Gabba.

After CA came out in defence of its umpires following the controversial call to give Brisbane Heat star Alex Ross out at a key moment in Wednesday night's last-ball loss to Hobart, Queensland responded by throwing its support behind the integrity of their player.

Ross took to social media on Thursday to plead his innocence as Heat captain Brendon McCullum and Ten commentators Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh bemoaned the decision.

CA announced that umpires were "justified" to interpret that Ross had shown "intent" by changing his direction and being struck by a throw from the outfield towards the stumps as he raced to make his ground.

Heat player Alex Ross departs after being given out for obstructing the field on Wednesday night.
Heat player Alex Ross departs after being given out for obstructing the field on Wednesday night.

 

Queensland hit back and implied that CA and match officials had failed the common sense test.

"Given the highly subjective nature of the rule, I think it's crucial that the public understands that Alex and for that matter, all players and officials involved in the game, are people of integrity," said Queensland boss, Max Walters.

"Of course, the umpire is always right and we congratulate the Hurricanes on their victory. As our captain said last night, the Hurricanes probably deserved to win the match irrespective of one incident.

"It's time to move on. But we need to understand clearly that Mum, Dad and the kids are interested in being entertained, not subjected to a forensic examination of the rule book."

Never before in top line Australian cricket has a batsman been given out 'obstructing the field' but Cricket Australia conducted a full review into the incident and announced that umpires were right.

"The dismissal last night of Alex Ross from Brisbane Heat saw the batsman change direction, turn to watch the direction of the throw, and run on the pitch," said a CA spokesman.

The controversial incident.
The controversial incident.

"The third umpire concluded that the change of running direction of the batsman, after seeing the direction of the throw, obstructed the wicket-keeper's opportunity to affect the run-out

"Obstructing the Field is one of the more difficult decisions to interpret as it is based on umpires assessing the intent of the batsman.

"After assessing footage of the incident alongside the Laws, playing conditions, and cues that umpires are provided, CA believe the Obstructing the Field decision from last night's game is justified."

Commentator and former Test star Gilchrist was convinced that Ross had not looked back at where the throw was coming from, and Waugh said it seemed obvious Ross's motivation was to avoid being hit rather than block the stumps.

Ross tweeted on Thursday: "You must always respect the umpire's decision, but I wanted to clear the air and state my intentions in the run last night," he said. "I can unequivocally say I was trying to run away from the line of the ball to avoid being hit, as I felt I was going to make my ground."

McCullum's harsh accusation that Hobart captain George Bailey had missed an opportunity to uphold the spirit of cricket by asking the umpires - on replay - to check for obstructing the field - is reminiscent of when he levelled a similar charge against Steve Smith in a one-day match a few years back.

On that occasion, the former Kiwi captain was writing a column for a UK newspaper, and lashed Smith for appealing "obstructing the field" when England's Ben Stokes blocked a run-out opportunity from the bowler when he reaching out to block the oncoming ball with his glove in an ODI at Lord's.

In an extraordinary attack, McCullum labelled Smith "immature" and said he would "live to regret" the appeal.



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