What Is Obstructing The Field? Why Was Mushfiqur Rahim Given Out?

image-lptg633jMushfiqur Rahim was given out for obstructing the field (Twitter)

In the ongoing second Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh, an unusual incident occurred on the opening day that highlighted a rarely invoked law of cricket.

Seasoned Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batter, Mushfiqur Rahim was dismissed for "obstructing the field." This mode of dismissal is relatively uncommon, but it made the headlines immediately. Let’s take a look at “What is obstructing the field?”

BAN vs NZ: What is 'Obstructing the Field'?

Fundamental Definition: ‘Obstructing the field' refers to an action where a batsman willfully hinders the opposing team by word or action. This includes any deliberate interference with the ball, such as striking it with any part of the body or bat, other than a hand not holding the bat, after a fielder has touched the ball.

Determining Intent: The crucial aspect of this law is the determination of whether the obstruction was willful or accidental. It is the responsibility of the on-field umpires to make this judgment, consulting with each other in cases of uncertainty.

Impact on Catch Opportunities: A batsman can be adjudged out for obstructing the field if his actions prevent a fielder from making a catch, regardless of whether those actions were otherwise lawful under different laws of the game.

Interaction with Fielders and the Ball: A batsman is also at risk of being given out for obstructing the field if he inappropriately uses his bat or body to return the ball to the fielders without their consent.

Scoring Rules in Obstruction Cases: If a batsman is dismissed for obstructing the field, any runs completed before the act of obstruction are scored, along with any penalty runs awarded. However, if the obstruction prevents a catch, then runs completed before the offense are not counted.

Bowler’s Record: Notably, in cases of dismissal for obstructing the field, the bowler does not receive credit for the wicket.

Mushfiqur Rahim Obstructing the Field Incident

Mushfiqur Rahim's dismissal was an extraordinary event, marking a rare instance in cricket history. The dismissal occurred when Rahim, after playing a defensive shot off Kyle Jamieson’s bowling, used his hand to deflect the ball. Rahim's dismissal left the audience and the player himself in disbelief as the ball was not threatening the stumps. However, this act was deemed a willful attempt to obstruct the field. This dismissal is significant for several reasons:

  • Rahim became the first Bangladesh player to be dismissed in this manner in Test cricket, and the second player overall since Len Hutton in 1951.
  • The incident called attention to the 2017 modification in cricket laws, where 'handling the ball' was incorporated into 'obstructing the field'.
  • The dismissal sparked disbelief among players and spectators alike and brought to the fore the rarity of such occurrences and the need for a thorough understanding of cricket laws.

Mushfiqur Rahim wicket video

At the moment, Bangladesh are struggling against the Kiwi bowlers. They have already lost 6 wickets, with the spinners doing all the damage.