A Sri Lankan batter has become the first player in international cricket to be ‘timed out’ in a controversial moment in the World Cup.
The 35-year-old all-rounder was standing at the crease, but to the side of his wicket, and appeared unhappy with the strap on his helmet.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan appealed for his wicket, and Mathews was subsequently given his marching orders in a remarkable moment.
With Shakib choosing not to withdraw his appeal, a fuming Mathews was dismissed, chucking his helmet to the floor in rage after leaving the pitch.
Mathews appeared to tell Shakib that the delay only happened because of his helmet breaking, but the Bangladesh skipper would not change his mind.
The incident has sparked a debate about the seldom-used law – which has never previously been enforced in international cricket.
It has only been used seven times in first-class cricket – including in 2002 when a batter was ‘timed out’ because he was still on a flight from the West Indies when he was due out to the crease.
Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka said after his side’s innings that he felt Mathews’s dismissal was “not good for the spirit of cricket”.
World Cup commentator and former Pakistan captain, Waqar, Younis, said: “I didn’t enjoy what I saw – I always believe in the spirit of the game.
“Yes, within the laws of the game, he may be out, but I didn’t like it in terms of the spirit of the game. The appeal and whole drama, I thought it was a bit too much for my liking.”
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Ramiz Raja, another World Cup commentator and former Pakistan captain, said: “To a certain degree, it is an onus on cricketers to learn the rules and understand the spirit of the rules.
“Most of us don’t, but the umpires were on top of the situation. It was a tough call to make.
“You’ve got back the law here and be more understanding of what you’re trying to do and what the law is.”
The Laws of Cricket – the rules of cricket worldwide – are maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London – the one-time governing body for the sport.
Under the laws, there are 11 ways to get out in cricket, the most common of which are: caught, bowled, given leg before wicket (lbw), run out or stumped.
However, there are six other – much more uncommon – ways for batters to be dismissed, including being “timed out”.
The others are:
• Obstructing the field
• Hit own wicket
• Handling the ball
• Retired out
• Hitting the ball twice
The MCC Laws say a batter must be ready to face the first delivery within three minutes – though the playing conditions for this year’s Cricket World Cup stipulate that it is two minutes.