Curse of the 'bouncing bat' strikes India

India opener Rohit Sharma sent packing as sharp work - and a slice of luck - benefits Pakistani cause

Controversy struck the India-Pakistan Champions Trophy clash with Rohit Sharma given out by the third umpire with a 'bouncing bat'.

India skipper Virat Kohli dropped a shot into the offside and both batsman set off scampering as Babar Azam swooped in. His throw was slightly behind the stumps as wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed had to reach for it before whipping off the bails as the India opener dived for the line.

Rohit looked to have made his ground, but closer inspection of the television replays showed his bat had bounced short of the line with the willow angled above the turf as he slid over the line and Sarfraz broke the wicket.

Sarfraz breaks the stumps as Rohit dives // Getty
Sarfraz breaks the stumps as Rohit dives // Getty

It sent Rohit on his way for 91 with a century seemingly beckoning against a struggling Pakistan bowling attack.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting questioned on commentary whether Rohit's upturned bat may have been sliding along the angled surface of the back of the blade. But third umpire Richard Kettleborough saw enough to give the dismissal.

A forthcoming change to the Laws of cricket that will eliminate the curse of the bouncing bat would not have saved Rohit. 

From October 1, if a batter has grounded their bat beyond the crease but is then airborne at the moment the bails are removed, they will be ruled not out. Currently, such a situation still results in the batter being given out.

India openers flay Paksitan bowlers in big partnership

A string of dismissals fitting that bill have happened in recent times, with Sri Lanka's Dimesh Chandimal the most recent to fall foul of the unfortunate circumstances in an ODI against Bangladesh in April. 

Then the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper was run out having already ground his bat across the line yet, crucially, had not put a foot down in the crease. He was found on replays to have both foot and bat millimetres above the turf at the moment Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim gathered the throw from Taskin Ahmed and broke the stumps.

Bangladesh's fielders only appealed half-heartedly, and had returned to their fielding positions expecting the over to continue as the third umpire checked the footage.

But Chandimal’s running proved to have been even more half-hearted than the appeal and he was left shocked to have been given out.

In a 2010 update to the Laws of Cricket, once a batter has grounded any part of their body beyond the popping crease and continued their forward momentum, they can't be run out if they are airborne when the stumps are broken.

But if the bat is grounded then lifted at the crucial moment the stumps are broken and a foot is yet to touch down beyond the crease, then the batter can be out.

Chandimal caught short in Sri Lanka triumph

From October, however, this will not be classed as a run out with an updated Code of Laws – the first since 2000 – to be introduced.

The Marylebone Cricket Club approved a series of updates to the Laws of cricket that come into effect later this year, including the amendment to how run-outs like Chandimal’s are judged.

Under the change, once a batter has grounded their bat beyond the popping crease but their "continued forward momentum towards the stumps" results in the bat and their body being airborne with safe territory when the wicket is put down, the batter will be deemed not out.

"If the bat (held by the hand) or another part of the batsman's person is grounded beyond the popping crease and this contact with the ground is subsequently lost when the wicket is put down, the batsman will be protected from being run out if he/she is running or diving and has continued forward momentum towards the stumps and beyond," the MCC said in a statement last month.

Wagner falls victim to bizarre run out

Chandimal's dismissal is not the first time Bangladesh have benefited from a run out in such bizarre circumstances, nor even the first time this year. In a January Test match in Christchurch, New Zealand's Neil Wagner was run out despite being level with the stumps in exactly the same fashion.

Wagner had grounded his bat across the line, but in his rush to complete the single had neither boot nor bat grounded when the stumps were broken by a backhand flick. It prompted Black Caps coach Mike Hesson to call for a rule change at the time of the incident.

And during the 2015 ODI World Cup, England’s Chris Jordan dived to reach his ground after aborting an attempt at a single, and appeared to have reached safety as Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan threw down the stumps.

March 2015: Jordan departs in controversial fashion

However, closer inspection showed the velocity of his dive caused his bat to 'bounce' after reaching his ground.

A similar dismissal occurred during a T20 International in 2014 between Australia and England, with Eoin Morgan initially making his ground following a direct-hit run out, only to have his bat bounce up at the moment the stumps were broken.

January '14: Did Morgan make his ground?

The MCC's head of cricket, John Stephenson in March said cricket was overdue an update to the Code of Laws since the last update 17 years ago.

"The game of cricket has evolved a great deal since the last Code of Laws was written in 2000, so much so that MCC made changes to that Code on five separate occasions in the last 14 years,” Stephenson said.

"We felt the time was right for a new Code to tidy up many of the piecemeal changes made since 2000. The process has taken nearly three years and has involved significant consultation.

"We are very pleased with the outcome, which we believe reflects the continuing evolution of cricket."

Other changes to come in include restrictions on the size of bats and empowering umpires to tackle poor player behaviour, including banning them from returning for the remainder of the match.

Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation


1 JuneEngland beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

2 JuneNew Zealand v Australia, No Result

3 JuneSri Lanka lost to South Africa by 96 runs

4 JuneIndia v Pakistan, Edgbaston (D)

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, The Oval (D/N)

6 JuneEngland v New Zealand, Cardiff (D)

7 JunePakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (D/N)

8 JuneIndia v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)

9 JuneNew Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)

10 JuneEngland v Australia, Edgbaston (D)

11 JuneIndia v South Africa, The Oval (D)

12 JuneSri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 JuneFirst semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 JuneSecond semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal, The Oval (D)

19 June – Reserve day (D)

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