Ross takes to Twitter to clear the air
Brisbane Heat batsman Alex Ross says he did not intentionally obstruct the ball in crucial KFC BBL clash at the Gabba
11 January 2018, 01:33 PM AEST
Brisbane Heat batsman Alex Ross has taken to social media to clarify his role in the obstructing the field controversy that exploded in Wednesday night's KFC BBL clash with the Hobart Hurricanes.
But a review of the decision today by Cricket Australia's match officials department found the dismissal was "justified".
Ross was the first player given out for obstructing the field in Big Bash history when he was ruled by the third umpire to have changed direction into the path of a throw during the 17th over.
Ross's dismissal left the Heat six down and they ultimately fell to a three-run defeat in a final-ball thriller.
Heat captain Brendon McCullum was left fuming by the decision and – along with coach Daniel Vettori and star batsman Chris Lynn – engaged in a protracted animated discussion on the sideline with the fourth official.
Ross tweeted that his hange of direction was an attempt to avoid being hit by the return throw.
"You must always respect the umpires' decision, but I wanted to clear the air and state my intentions in the run last night," Ross wrote on Twitter.
"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."
A CA spokesperson said while obstruction was a difficult Law to interpret, Ross's actions made the outcome clear.
"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," the spokesperson said.
"The third umpire concluded that the change of running direction of the batsman, after seeing the direction of the throw, obstructed the wicketkeeper’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."
Queensland Cricket chief executive Max Walters said the organisation was steadfast in its support of Alex Ross and his assessment of last night’s incident.
“Given the highly subjective nature of the rule, I think it is crucial that the public understands that Alex and for that matter, all players and officials involved in the game, are people of integrity," Walters said.
“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.”
Hobart players appealed when the throw deflected off Ross to hit the stumps, and Hurricanes captain George Bailey later confirmed he had asked the umpire to check for obstruction after seeing a replay on the Gabba's big screen.
"I'm learning the rule as we speak," Bailey said when quizzed after the match on Network Ten. "But I appealed for the run-out, and then when we saw the replay and saw 'Rossy' had changed his angle, we asked, 'Has he changed his line – can you check for obstructing the field as well?'. And we were awaiting the umpire's decision."
McCullum invoked the spirit of cricket in his response to the incident, and suggested Hobart had acted contrary to that.
"We're not righteous about our stance on spirit of the game, but I think every now and then you get an opportunity to stand up for the spirit of the game," McCullum said after the match.
"Tonight I think the Hurricanes, or George, missed an opportunity. I just get the feeling, speaking from experience, that this is an opportunity that he will in time wish he had made the other choice."
Former Cricket Australia umpire Ash Barrow said he believed the decision was "borderline" but ultimately correct and Ross's change of direction had given the third official enough grounds to give him out.
"If Alex Ross had just run straight, we wouldn't be talking about this today, even if the ball had still hit him," Barrow said on RSN.
"It was borderline. The way it played out didn't look overly that bad live. The third umpire can get different replays and angles so he can get a different perspective of how much direction he might have changed.
"In this instance, in the heat of the battle, I actually thought obstruction was probably the right call.
"Not live, but when I saw the slow-mo replays I thought he's changed his own direction, he's brought himself into the line of the ball, he could be in trouble here."