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IND-W Vs AUS-W | Why Was Alyssa Healy Not Ruled Out Obstructing The Field?

image-lqixryr2The heated moment between Healy and Harmanpreet [X.com]

Controversy erupted on Day 3 of the one-off Test match between India Women & Australia Women at the Wankhede when Harmanpreet Kaur attempted to run out Alyssa Healy immediately after the latter completed her shot. The incident unravelled during Australia’s second innings on the third delivery of the 80th over.

The Australian skipper advanced down the pitch and pushed a fuller-length delivery straight back to Kaur. The Indian skipper was quick enough to collect the ball and fire it back at the striker’s end, where Healy was potentially short of her ground. 

However, the Aussie skipper was positioned precisely in the way of the throw. In an attempt to take evasive action, Healy used her bat to deflect the ball to the deep third-man region, which ultimately resulted in a boundary.

The on-field umpires refused to address Kaur’s appeal for ‘obstructing the field’ as the ball reached the boundary fence. Following the conclusion of the incident, a heated exchange ensued between the two players.

Watch the entire incident

The Indian skipper was certainly not impressed by that call from the on-field umpires. But as it turns out, the umpires made a fair call in ruling Alyssa Healy ‘not out’ as per the laws of the game.

Law 37.1 of the MCC Laws of Cricket states the following:

"Either batter is out Obstructing the field if, he/she wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action."

In addition to the above explanation, the law further adds

"A batter shall not be out Obstructing the field if the obstruction or distraction is accidental, or the obstruction is in order to avoid injury, or in the case of the striker, he/she makes a second or subsequent strike to guard his/her wicket lawfully.”

So, to put things into perspective, the batter can legitimately use means of obstruction to avoid injury. In this scenario, the throw was aimed at Healy’s body. Hence, to prevent any potential injury, Healy used her bat to safeguard herself from the ball, and while doing so, she guided it away towards the boundary, thus adding insult to injury.

Nevertheless, Harmanpreet Kaur had the final laugh in the very next ball when she finally succeeded in trapping the Aussie skipper leg before wicket. 

Healy, in an attempt to execute a premeditated sweep against a straight delivery from the Indian captain, failed to get any bat on it, resulting in the ball hitting her on the pad. After a closely contested DRS review, the TV umpire eventually ruled her out for 32 (101).

At the end of the day on Day 3, Australia posted 233-5 and gained a marginal lead of 46 runs with Annabel Sutherland (12*) and Ashleigh Gardner (7*) at the crease.