Danushka Gunathilaka was given out obstructing the field in an ODI against West Indies.© AFP
Sri Lanka batsman Danushka Gunathilaka was given out “obstructing the field” during the first ODI against the West Indies in Antigua on Wednesday. The incident happened in the 21st over of the innings when Gunathilaka played a ball from Kieron Pollard and set off for a run before changing his mind and stopping almost mid-pitch. However, the ball had died down very close to Gunathilaka’s feet and while retreating towards the crease the Sri Lankan opener seemed to have kicked the ball away from Pollard, who had been attempting to field.
— Rahul (@RahulSadhu009) March 10, 2021
Pollard was seemingly dismayed at Gunathilaka’s actions and appealed against the batsman for obstructing the field.
On-field umpire Joe Wilson referred the call to the third umpire while giving a soft signal of “Out.”
The third umpire, on review, was convinced that Gunathilaka’s actions amounted to wilful obstruction in the field and gave the batsman out.
The decision courted some controversy as one of the commentators on air at the time, Ian Bishop, called the decision “unfortunate” and “harsh.”
Former Australia cricketer Tom Moody didn’t agree that it was wilful obstruction on the part of Gunathilaka.
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) March 10, 2021
“Don’t think that was willful at all,” said former West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
Don’t think that was willful at all. I wouldn’t appeal but hey
— Daren Sammy (@darensammy88) March 10, 2021
Clause 37.1.1 of ICC Playing Conditions states that a batsman can be given out obstructing the field “he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.”
Gunathilaka played fluently for his 55 off 61 before getting dismissed. He hit seven boundaries and shared a 105-run opening stand with captain Dimuth Karunaratne.
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