Daniel Hughes speaks out after debate over white towel incident in Marsh Cup

The NSW batter was given a reprieve because Riley Meredith's towel fell out of his pants while he was running in.

Daniel Hughes and Riley Meredith in the Marsh Cup.
Daniel Hughes was given not out because Riley Meredith's towel acted as a distraction. Image:

NSW batsman Daniel Hughes feared he'd be given out and made to walk in the first over of the Blues' Marsh Cup opener against Tasmania following a bizarre incident. The NSW veteran was facing Riley Meredith on the last ball of the first over when he half pulled away and wafted airily at the delivery, presenting keeper Caleb Jewell with a simple caught behind as Tigers players celebrated.

After the umpire raised his finger, Hughes immediately pointed to a white towel that had dropped from the back of Meredith's pants during the bowler's run-up, indicating it had put him off. As the two umpires conferred, the Kayo Sports commentators said: "He should have just backed away and not played a shot. He shouldn't have swung at the ball.

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"He was well within his rights (to back away) because the white towel can get in the way and not help your vision tracking the ball. He's walked away to leave it but he did play a shot. The counter argument would be he's agreed to take part in the delivery."

Fans on social media also debated whether the original decision should stand. But after a short discussion, the umpires ruled the delivery a dead ball and allowed Hughes to continue his innings.

The laws of cricket state: "Either umpire shall call and signal dead ball when … the striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while preparing to receive or receiving a delivery. This shall apply whether the source of the distraction is within the match or outside it."

Jordan Silk, pictured here discussing the Daniel Hughes incident with one of the umpires.
Jordan Silk discussed the Daniel Hughes incident with one of the umpires. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Daniel Hughes responds after contentious incident

Hughes, who was on four at the time and went on to make 58 as NSW completed an easy six-wicket win, initially feared the worst. He told Yahoo Sport Australia: "When I saw the towel drop my thought was to just back away and I wasn't going to just let the ball hit me so I swung my bat.

"I just said to the umpire that as soon as he drops his towel, I thought the rule was it's a dead ball. I wasn’t confident they were going to call me back at all, but I knew it was a dead ball because I’d seen it happen somewhere else before."

Hughes is back in action for NSW's second Marsh Cup clash against Victoria on Friday. "We are very happy with that start and now have to focus on the next match. It’s a new game, new opposition and new opportunities," he said.

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