May 8, 2012

Pune Warriors

Smith's leap in vain

Siddarth Ravindran

Steven Smith’s boundary fielding had already provided one of the highlights of the tournament three days ago, but he topped that with an effort against Rajasthan Royals that was so extraordinary that it left even experts scrambling for the rulebook to check whether it was legal.

In the third over of the chase, Shane Watson muscled a delivery from Murali Kartik towards the long-on boundary, where Smith was stationed. He rushed across to try latch on to an overhead catch, but realised the momentum was going to take him across the rope. He lobbed the ball in the air, though not within the field of play; then, having crossed the boundary, he jumped and pushed the ball back over the rope before rushing back into the field of play to finally pouch it on the third attempt.

It was a moment that showcased incredible athleticism and an outstanding presence of mind, but Smith had nothing to show for his efforts as it was adjudged, according to the rules, as a six. The laws had been changed in October 2010 to deem an effort invalid if the fielder touches the ball after crossing the rope and before coming back into the field of play. That meant Smith’s second touch made the Watson shot a six.

Smith’s Warriors team-mate Angelo Mathews had first triggered a debate over the legality of these sorts of fielding during the 2009 World Twenty20 with a similarly breathtaking outfield effort.

If the old laws had stood, Watson would have been dismissed for 11, and in a game where every batsman except him struggled to find their touch, Smith’s catch could have had a big impact on the result of the game. Instead, Watson bludgeoned twice as many boundaries as the entire Warriors did to take Royals to a crushing victory.

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Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Jonathon J on (May 9, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

To be honest, if a player can pull off something like that, he deserves it to be a catch. Its not like it was a clear 6. If the person can get his finger tips to it, it probably wasn't a safe shot to play by the batsman and could give him out. Just put it this way, if it was a 6 ft 6 in guy standing there instead of Stephen Smith, it would have been an easy catch. Smith/Matthews make up this by doing amazing fielding. I find this fielding to be a means of substituting great athleticism for height

Posted by SMITEN on (May 9, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

IT WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL ATTEMPT BY SMITH & FORTUNATELY FOR WATSON & RR, DECLARED SIX.

Posted by Bharath kumar on (May 9, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

what a brilliant effect from Smith at the long-on boundary and the other day he did magnificient attempt against knight riders

Posted by Harshit Jain on (May 9, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

It is another example of how the game is being rigged fully towards the batsmen. If I recall correctly, in IPL 4, 2-3 of these kind of catches were taken, and I loved how the fielders had great presence of mind to keep the ball in play. If this is the case, why keep the switch hit? Make that shot illegal as well.

Posted by Punit Srivastava on (May 9, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

Well!!!!! Bravo!!!!, wat a superb presence of mind and its execution.unfortunately its not on PWI favors. Smith has one of my fav player since i have seen him at chinnaswami against RCB side playing just few meters away.wonderful athelete and sportsman, never felt proud of wat he did and very determined.I think he is the best feilder of this IPL-5.The likes of Nehra, Uthappa have to take fielding session from him.i cant count how many run they threw away just because of poor keeping and fielding. May be in next season smith take bigger role in PWI-11. Hope PWI player can come stronger and play like 1st 4 mathes and win remaining 3 mathes for DADA. Best of Luck PWI.

Posted by Vinay on (May 9, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

No words to say about the Steave, such a great fielder in the moderen era......I felt very bad to know that rules has changed last year.....I can say one thing, Cricekt is all over to the Batsmen favour, the batsman can switch hit, he can try what ever.....this is not fair...

ICC should have rethink about the rules....

Posted by Naval Patel on (May 9, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

This is another absurdity in the present Laws. All normal sense of anyone who has actually played cricket will support the condition that for a shot to earn six either the ball must touch a fixed object beyond the boundary or be touched by a fielder while his feet are touching the ground or a fixed object beyond the boundary. Neither condition was fulfilled during Smith's spectacular effort, which I viewed repeatedly on TV and this should certainly have been allowed as a fair catch.

Posted by Mayank on (May 9, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

Smith has been the best athlete on display during this IPL. A deserving candidate for the emerging player of the tournament. He has been a live wire through out this IPL. The Aussie brand of cricket by contributing in more than one way is probably best reflected by Smith. He can be a part of Aussie short format for a long long time. Perhaps time for young Indians to learn a lesson or two.

Posted by gourav sharma on (May 9, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

smith is a fantastic fielder whether in the circle or on the boundery his 100% is always in the field no doubt about it ipl is a good platform to show their talent to the world

Posted by vishwak on (May 9, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

watevr d outcome was...it was a gr8 display of fielding by steve ot there..wat followed by watson though was spectacular 2 watch!

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