Explained: What is 'time out' rule in cricket and were Bangladesh within their rights to appeal against Angelo Mathews?
Angelo Mathews went down in the history books as the first batter to be timed out in international cricket.
The 2023 World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Monday ended up going into the history books well before it got even close to the halfway stage, much to the dismay of Angelo Mathews. The veteran Sri Lanka all-rounder has become the first player in international cricket, men's or women's, to be dismissed through the “timed out” law.
Bangladesh had won the toss and chosen to bowl first. The incident in question occurred in the 25th over of the Sri Lankan innings. Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan had sent back Sadeera Samarawickrama with the latter having scored 41 in 42 balls. Mathews hence walked in at No.6 but he took some time doing so. Once he was at the crease, he seemed ready to take guard when he seemed to realise that the strap on his helmet was broken. Mathews then signaled to the Sri Lankan dressing room for a new helmet. Shakib could then be seen talking to the umpire Marais Erasmus with a smile on his face and as the latter walked off to confer with his colleague, the Bangladesh captain raised his hands and could be seen quietly asking, “How was that? Officially I am asking”. The umpires then ended up holding up the appeal and this led to a long drawn discussion between Mathews and the umpires and the Bangladesh players. Eventually, a visibly befuddled Mathews dragged himself off the field.
What the law states
While the "time-out" is one of the oldest rules in the sport and has even been applied on rare occasions in domestic cricket across the world, this marks the first time that a batter had been dismissed in this fashion in the history of international cricket. The International Cricket Council (ICC) released a statement soon after the dismissal and highlighted the tournament's playing conditions pertaining to the dismissal. This is what the rule states:
40.1.1 After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 2 minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out. It is a slight deviation from the MCC's definition for other international matches, with batters requiring to be in the middle in three minutes.
Sri Lanka were eventually all out for 279 runs in 49.3 overs with Charith Asalanka scoring 108 off 105 balls. Asalanka briefly spoke about the dismissal. "My point is that Mathews' dismissal was not good for the spirit of cricket, even though it is within the rules," he said.
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