The cricketing world is up in arms after a controversial decision at the U19 World Cup on Sunday morning saw English batsman Hamza Shaikh given out for obstructing the field during England's match against Zimbabwe. Shaikh came in at No. 4 for England but nine balls later he was sent back to the pavilion, after Zimbabwe appealed when he picked up the ball for the wicketkeeper.
The English batsman barely connected on a ball that was bowled, leaving it stationary between his legs, settling on the crease. Shaikh then picked up the ball and threw it to Zimbabwean wicketkeeper Ryan Kamwemba to save the keeper from bending down but instead, Kamwemba appealed for Shaikh to be out for obstructing the field, to which the umpire agreed.
The laws of cricket state a player can be given out for obstructing the field "without the consent of a fielder" if they use "the bat of any part of their person" to give the ball back to the bowling side. But despite it being in the rulebook, cricket fans were furious at the decision, labelling it "utterly pathetic".
English legend Stuart Broad couldn't believe what he had seen, taking to social media to state how low the act of the wicketkeeper was especially in a dead rubber match. "Oh get a grip. He’s passing a stationary ball to the fielder? Doing him a favour! Can’t give that out," Stuart Broad wrote.
England U19 batter Hamza Shaikh was given out obstructing the field 😳pic.twitter.com/QLK93LXN2i
— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) February 3, 2024
Oh get a grip. He’s passing a stationary ball back to the fielder? Doing him a favour! Cant give that out https://t.co/0iVQXKNw6d
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) February 3, 2024
Some of the worst Officiating I think I've ever seen. Embarrassing decision. Typical example of those who know the rules but don't know the game. https://t.co/HjIgNu4gX0
— Tim Bresnan (@timbresnan) February 3, 2024
How utterly pathetic. Shame on these Zimbabwe players. Who wants to win like that? https://t.co/pPxIS7g7ZS
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 3, 2024
While Tim Bresnan chipped in saying: "Some of the worst officiating I think I’ve ever seen. Embarrassing decision. Typical example of those who know the rules but don’t know the game."
Steve Harmison labelled the decision a "shocker" and said umpires need to use common sense in such instances. "If you're getting given out for that then the game’s gone, it really has. How can an umpire give that out?" he asked.
While Piers Morgan was irate at what he had just witnessed. "How utterly pathetic," he wrote on X. "Shame on these Zimbabwe players. Who wants to win like that?" England surged to a comfortable 146-run victory despite being on the wrong end of the contentious call.
Ian Bishop says the law needs to be looked at
Former West Indian paceman Ian Bishop told Fox Sports at the time the wicket shouldn't have stood as the ball had come to a complete stop before the batsman handled it. "This was is an unfortunate issue," Bishop said. "The batsman isn’t trying to gain an advantage. He is not trying to be unfair.
"The umpires have done what they need to do. The ball has stopped. It’s not threatening the stumps. I don’t really necessarily feel as if that’s a good law. It could take a re-look. The batsman is not trying to gain an unfair advantage. All he is trying to do is help out the fielding team.
"I would have to have a deeper look at myself if I was the fielding captain. Can I use some discretion here for the game of the game and whatever the spirit of the game means? I wouldn’t have gone that way. He’s obviously a bright kid and he understands the letter of the law. On this occasion, it’s slightly different for me compared to the last World Cup."
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