Yesterday in a Big Bash game, Matt Renshaw and Tom Banton while playing for Brisbane Heat took a sensational relay catch on the deep-midwicket boundary which created a lot of stir on social media. Yes, it was lawfully legal but not every law makes sense in cricket. That’s what the majority of cricket loving population on social media believes, earlier after the World Cup final and now after following the process of how the catch was taken.
In a league match of 9th season of BBL played at the Gabba between the hosts Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes, Renshaw and Banton pouched a skier hit by Matthew Wade off the bowling of Ben Cutting. The catch wasn’t that simple, it was rather extraordinary. You wouldn’t see people taking catches after making contact with the ball twice on daily basis. Yes, there were occasions when fielders had made two contacts with the ball to throw the ball inside so that the 6 can be saved but very few people have taken catches like this in the past.
To see how the catch was taken : https://cricpick.in/bbl-2019-20-fielder-creates-controversy-by-jumping-out-from-outside-the-boundary-for-the-relay-catch.html
You can also say Renshaw got lucky in this case because Tom Banton was there to take the catch otherwise he would just have been throwing the ball back inside and it wouldn’t have been catches of it’s rarest kinds.
But as we are discussing the rule which allows fielders to take such catches, let’s talk about what else fielders can do by staying within the rules to create the moment of magic on a more regular basis. Note : This discussion is fun oriented.
As the rule 19.5.2 says, A fielder who is not in contact with the ground is considered to be grounded beyond the boundary if his/her final contact with the ground, before his/her first contact with the ball after it has been delivered by the bowler, was not entirely within the boundary.
In this particular case, Renshaw’s first contact with the ball was well inside the boundary after which he threw the ball and touched the ball again outside the boundary line when he was not in contact with the ground which makes the catch perfectly legal. Now, abiding by the rule, you just have to make the first contact with the ball by staying inside. Once you’ve done that, you can go outside, take a coffee, come back and complete the catch provided you have that much time.
Considering the fact that most of the grounds in the world are quite small except for Australian grounds where you still play percentage cricket even in T20s, a team can place a few of it’s fielders outside the boundary line but remember the rules – they can’t be touching the ground beyond the boundary line before making the first contact with the ball. So how does it work? The fielders placed outside the boundary will have to be hanging in the air all the time so that whenever a ball is hit towards them, they can catch it and throw it to their mate who is inside the boundary. That way catch can be legal and the 6s can be stopped as well. As soon as players take the field and cross the boundary line, some of them, depending on captain’s wish should be airlifted to the area outside the boundary line.
It will also test the captain’s brain. There should be no limit on how many fielders he/she can place outside the ropes. The captain can put all 9 of them outside the boundary if he wants to but then he will have problems protecting the ground shots and thus it will test his understanding as well. All Cricket would require is some airlifting equipment which should make sure neither do players touch the ground nor do it elevate players to such level where the ball can pass underneath them.
There is a phrase which is widely used in regards of Test cricket. ” Test cricket is a format which allows you to hang in there “. If such things are allowed to happen, you can ‘ Hang in ‘ in T20s as well, literally!