Mathews’ Dismissal: First Time Out in International Cricket

In a first in international cricket, Sri Lankan cricketer Angelo Mathews was timed out during the ICC World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which was held on November 6, 2023, in Delhi.

Mathews was next in line after the dismissal of Sadeera Samarawickrama. On entering the field, Mathews seemed to have encountered some issues with the strap of his helmet and signalled for a new one. In the meantime, Bangladesh Captain Shakib Al Hasan made an appeal for a “timed out” dismissal, which was then affirmed by the umpires.

As per the MCC Laws of Cricket, a batter has 3 minutes to be ready to receive the next ball[1]. However, when it comes to the ICC World Cup 2023 playing conditions, the time limit for the batter is just two minutes and not three. The relevant provision states as follows:

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.”

The fourth official, Adrian Holdstock, remarked that the ICC World Cup playing conditions superseded the MCC Laws of Cricket.

This decision found support among those who believed that the law should be followed irrespective of the special circumstances and that, as a batsman, one needs to ensure that all the necessary equipment is in place and must be ready to receive the ball within 2 minutes. However, it was also criticized with several claiming that it was against the spirit of the game since a delay caused by a broken helmet was beyond the player’s control.