“Leave Spirit Of Cricket Out Of This”: Harsha Bhogle’s No Non-Sense Take On Angelo Mathews’ ‘Timed Out’ Controversy

The ‘timed out’ dismissal of Angelo Mathews, a first in the 146-year old history of international cricket, has divided the cricket world. The appeal for ‘timed out’ against the former Sri Lanka captain was done by Bangladesh skipper Shakib  Al Hasan. The incident happened during the 25th over when Angelo Mathews came at the crease after the fall of the fourth wicket. However, visuals showed his helmet strap came off as he was preparing to face the ball. The umpires deemed that he had taken more than two minutes, by which a batter should be ready to face the ball.

While former cricketers like Gautam Gambhir and Dale Steyn were unhappy with the appeal, ex-India batter Sanjay Manjrekar said that Shakib Al Hasan was brave enough to to take the call.

In a long post on X (formerly Twitter), popular commentator Harsha Bhogle explained his take. The post was titled: “My thoughts on the Mathews-Shakib issue.”

“You have to believe the umpires. If they say two minutes had elapsed, they had because these are vastly experienced, and very good, umpires and they are unlikely to make those mistakes. Second, ignorance of the law is no defence. If the law is there and you have infringed it, you don’t have a leg to stand upon,” Harsha Bhogle wrote.

“Shakib was within his rights to appeal and it is not for us to decide whether or not he should have. That is his decision, that is how he wants to play.”

Bhogle went on to write in details about how appealing for a ‘timed out’ and for a run out at the non-striker’s end is not the same.

“This case is different though from backing up too far at the non-striker’s end. There the batter is seeking, or getting, an unfair advantage and the bowler must run him out if possible. But here Mathews was getting no advantage nor was he seeking any. Batters routinely pick up a ball in play to give it to the bowler or a fielder and no one appeals, though careful batters ask if they can. Ditto here, if Mathews had asked if it was okay to change his helmet, I am certain there would have been no appeal. To that extent, it was unfortunate. I would run a non-striker out every day of the week but I wouldn’t appeal for this.”

“And let us leave spirit of cricket out of this. It is a weak argument often used by those that are ignorant or at the wrong end of a mistake. There are laws and you play within them. Beyond that, how to play the game is an individual choice.

“Mathews and Sri Lankan fans can be disappointed and angry but as per the laws of the game, he was out.”

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