Kolkata v Pune, IPL 2013, Ranchi May 15, 2013

Did Yusuf Pathan get a fair trial?

He was given out obstructing the field, but there was much more the umpire would have had to consider while making the decision than Yusuf kicking the ball
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The interpretation of Law 37, which deals with obstructing the field, by third umpire Vineet Kulkarni probably dealt the killer blow to Kolkata Knight Riders' IPL season. Yusuf Pathan had made his first fifty in three seasons for Knight Riders when he was ruled to have obstructed the field by kicking the ball away and was given out with his side needing 23 off 13. This was a huge decision. Allan Donald, the Pune Warriors coach, said it won his side the game. It was arguably also the moment that extinguished the defending champions' slim hope of making the playoffs.

This was an unusual situation, in that it required the umpire to interpret two laws - Law 37, in Yusuf's case, and before that, Law 42.5, on deliberate distraction or obstruction of the batsman, in Wayne Parnell's case. Assuming that umpire Kulkarni considered the provisions of both laws, he ruled in Parnell's favour on the first occasion and against Yusuf on the second.

Yusuf had pushed a yorker down the pitch and was trying to take a single. In an attempt to get to the ball, Parnell ran across, almost into Yusuf's path. As he approached the batsman, Parnell stuck both his hands out and in the process, touched Yusuf. Was that an attempt to deliberately obstruct Yusuf? Or was it just a reflex action in response to a possible collision? It did affect Yusuf, in that it slowed him down. Did it distract him enough for him to inadvertently kick the ball away?

In Parnell's favour, his eyes were throughout on the ball, and not on the batsman, as he ran across. What the umpire had to decide was whether the outstretching of the hands constituted a deliberate obstruction. We have to assume he decided it wasn't, or else, a dead ball would have been called and Yusuf's case would not have been taken up.

In Yusuf's favour, his eyes did not seem to be on the ball when he kicked it away, something one would usually do when one intends to kick an object. His team-mate Ryan ten Doeschate pointed out the same. "We get into trouble if we comment on any umpiring decision. They seem to make the decision and that is where they draw a line under it," ten Doeschate said. "We are very disappointed by the decision in the change room. The one thing you need to look at is where Yusuf's eyes are. And he is not looking at the ball, which makes it very hard for him to know where the ball exactly is. So if the umpire is saying he has kicked the ball, he has to know where the ball is. All I can say is, we are pretty disappointed with the way he got out."

What could have gone against Yusuf is the manner in which he kicked the ball. You run with straight feet and if the ball happened to roll in his path, it would have meant a straight, involuntary kick. But Yusuf 's foot was angled at the point of impact, like a footballer's is. Now that, standalone, suggests intention. But was it instead an involuntary follow-up to his slowing down, which was a result of Parnell's hand movements? The umpire did not think there was a link.

It is the umpire's call whether obstruction, by batsman or fielder, is deliberate. After assuming that he absolved Parnell on that account, he was within his rights to rule against Yusuf. He probably placed more emphasis on the angle of Yusuf's kick than his eyes not being on the ball, though one cannot conclude that was reasonable proof beyond doubt.

Donald said the umpire got it right. "When you see it from the side, it looked a bit innocuous," Donald said. "When I looked at it on the replay, it was clearly an attempt to nudge the ball away. I think the intent of Yusuf Pathan was to actually kick the ball away and I think that rule is a big lesson for any cricketer when you think that you can either get in the way of the thrower or maybe just get a boot on it, whether it is intentional or not. When I watched it, it was a good decision by the third umpire. It was spot-on, and ultimately, that won us the game, but not clear thinking on his [Yusuf's] part, I reckon."

This is what Parnell tweeted. "Just to clear the air regarding Pathan incident. I didn't give him out, the third umpire did. I play the game hard but I play it fair." One can only assume umpire Kulkarni gave Parnell and Yusuf a fair trial.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmony111 on May 17, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    @Calvin Buchanan: Pls read the law once again. Law 42.5 clearly talks about OBSTRUCTION as well as DISTRACTION. Whether Parnell's act was a significant act of impeding is immaterial. It is easy to see that YP was distracted by it hence it still is a fit case of the fielder doing something illegal to a batsman.

    @PratUSA: Pls see the footage of the incident again. Hard to say if YP's kick was intentional as it seems to be likely that his eyes were at Das and he had little idea about the ball. How can someone kick the ball intentionally if he did not know where the ball exactly was?

  • on May 18, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @harmony111 I saw the incident live too...when you walk or run you lift your foot and do it...you dont drag it...YP was clearly dragging his foot...you dont have to put your eyes on the ball to see where it is you can have a fair judgement of it, if it is in front of you.

  • PratUSA on May 17, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    I saw the incident live and numerous replays immediately after the incident. It was obvious that Yusuf kicked the ball intentionally. Not just that he also started to swing his bat seemingly to hit the ball away but stopped the motion midway as it was not needed. Parnell didn't obstruct him. I am sure it just happened instinctively in the desperation to save his wicket but in my mind right decision was reached.

  • on May 16, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Parnell did not contribute to Yusuf being in his predicament. The contact he had with Yusuf was not enough to impede the run. Yusuf would have made his ground easily, but Das was not running, therefore Yusuf was going to be Run Out.

    It is easy to blame Yusuf, but it was a move born of desperation. I felt for him. He had to do something so he kicked the Ball. That is when Das took the run, when Yusuf removed the threat.

    The Umpires had no choice to find that the batsman kicked the ball to prevent himself from being run out. Law 37 was rightfully applied. Common Sense has to prevail.

  • Survivor4you on May 16, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    Decision was bad, both the parties were guilty 3rd umpire made very quick decision in this case, replay also suggested Parnell was guilty first then Yusuf, it was crunch game and important one for KKR, decision should have made considering both Parnell pulling Yusuf tshirt and Yusuf kicking the ball, we would have got fair result after that.

  • inswing on May 16, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    To me it does not look deliberate at all. Yusuf was in two minds after seeing that Tiwari is not running. Whether to go back or to keep running. After slowing down he decided to keep going and hit the ball with his first stride after that, when he wasn't looking at the ball. Most people, including Yusuf, don't run with their feet pointed straight forward, they are always at an angle. If it was deliberate, it was extremely well planned (to look forward) and disguised, which seems very unrealistic.

  • Harmony111 on May 16, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    In the video Parnell's hands are clearly seen to be in contact with YP just before YP kicks the ball away. One might say that in some cases of trying to field the ball avoiding physical contact is impossible. If that is Parnell's defense then why were his hands not moving towards the ball? You must be seen as doing something for X if your defense is X. Why did Parnell not dive to stop the ball? Chronologically, it was Parnell's act of obstruction/distraction that happened first and YP's kick happened after it. If the movement of Parnell's hands towards YP (and not towards the ball) is accidental (even though Parnell knew where the ball was) then surely YP's kick too should be deemed to be accidental since his eyes were not on the ball. Also, Parnell's defense can't be that he did not know where YP was --- there is a huge diff between a ball of 4 oz and a man of 170 lbs.

    Had Parnell's act been called it would have become a dead ball. All in all, a very poor example of umpiring this.

  • Naresh28 on May 16, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    A DEAD BALL should have been called. It happened so quickly. It takes two players to cause that obstruction. I dont think Pathan wanted to kick the ball - he was more worried about tramping on it and falling. Parnell had also appeared to have obstructed Pathans pathway. So in deciding at a crictical juncture of the game a neutral path should have been chosen.

  • on May 16, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    it was intentional he placed his foot intentionally and gentally, he didnt run over it he pushed it...

  • coolmask on May 16, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    It all happened in a flash. All of us have to repeatedly see numerous replays number of times to come to a decision. It happened in the HEAT OF THE MOMENT. Yusuf ran, Parnell converged and slightly tugged his T-SHIRT making Yusuf swirl slightly and another point I might add is maybe Yusuf wanted to avoid treading on the ball while running as it might damage/fracture his ankle/leg. Ryan and the other KKR players including fans beleive that Yusuf never saw the ball. In Theory- The decision has cost KKR a chance in the playoffs and a chance to defend their title. Bottomline -PWI stole a victory and they should be thankful that the match was played at Ranchi not at the Eden Gardens or ...:-)

  • Harmony111 on May 17, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    @Calvin Buchanan: Pls read the law once again. Law 42.5 clearly talks about OBSTRUCTION as well as DISTRACTION. Whether Parnell's act was a significant act of impeding is immaterial. It is easy to see that YP was distracted by it hence it still is a fit case of the fielder doing something illegal to a batsman.

    @PratUSA: Pls see the footage of the incident again. Hard to say if YP's kick was intentional as it seems to be likely that his eyes were at Das and he had little idea about the ball. How can someone kick the ball intentionally if he did not know where the ball exactly was?

  • on May 18, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @harmony111 I saw the incident live too...when you walk or run you lift your foot and do it...you dont drag it...YP was clearly dragging his foot...you dont have to put your eyes on the ball to see where it is you can have a fair judgement of it, if it is in front of you.

  • PratUSA on May 17, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    I saw the incident live and numerous replays immediately after the incident. It was obvious that Yusuf kicked the ball intentionally. Not just that he also started to swing his bat seemingly to hit the ball away but stopped the motion midway as it was not needed. Parnell didn't obstruct him. I am sure it just happened instinctively in the desperation to save his wicket but in my mind right decision was reached.

  • on May 16, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Parnell did not contribute to Yusuf being in his predicament. The contact he had with Yusuf was not enough to impede the run. Yusuf would have made his ground easily, but Das was not running, therefore Yusuf was going to be Run Out.

    It is easy to blame Yusuf, but it was a move born of desperation. I felt for him. He had to do something so he kicked the Ball. That is when Das took the run, when Yusuf removed the threat.

    The Umpires had no choice to find that the batsman kicked the ball to prevent himself from being run out. Law 37 was rightfully applied. Common Sense has to prevail.

  • Survivor4you on May 16, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    Decision was bad, both the parties were guilty 3rd umpire made very quick decision in this case, replay also suggested Parnell was guilty first then Yusuf, it was crunch game and important one for KKR, decision should have made considering both Parnell pulling Yusuf tshirt and Yusuf kicking the ball, we would have got fair result after that.

  • inswing on May 16, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    To me it does not look deliberate at all. Yusuf was in two minds after seeing that Tiwari is not running. Whether to go back or to keep running. After slowing down he decided to keep going and hit the ball with his first stride after that, when he wasn't looking at the ball. Most people, including Yusuf, don't run with their feet pointed straight forward, they are always at an angle. If it was deliberate, it was extremely well planned (to look forward) and disguised, which seems very unrealistic.

  • Harmony111 on May 16, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    In the video Parnell's hands are clearly seen to be in contact with YP just before YP kicks the ball away. One might say that in some cases of trying to field the ball avoiding physical contact is impossible. If that is Parnell's defense then why were his hands not moving towards the ball? You must be seen as doing something for X if your defense is X. Why did Parnell not dive to stop the ball? Chronologically, it was Parnell's act of obstruction/distraction that happened first and YP's kick happened after it. If the movement of Parnell's hands towards YP (and not towards the ball) is accidental (even though Parnell knew where the ball was) then surely YP's kick too should be deemed to be accidental since his eyes were not on the ball. Also, Parnell's defense can't be that he did not know where YP was --- there is a huge diff between a ball of 4 oz and a man of 170 lbs.

    Had Parnell's act been called it would have become a dead ball. All in all, a very poor example of umpiring this.

  • Naresh28 on May 16, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    A DEAD BALL should have been called. It happened so quickly. It takes two players to cause that obstruction. I dont think Pathan wanted to kick the ball - he was more worried about tramping on it and falling. Parnell had also appeared to have obstructed Pathans pathway. So in deciding at a crictical juncture of the game a neutral path should have been chosen.

  • on May 16, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    it was intentional he placed his foot intentionally and gentally, he didnt run over it he pushed it...

  • coolmask on May 16, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    It all happened in a flash. All of us have to repeatedly see numerous replays number of times to come to a decision. It happened in the HEAT OF THE MOMENT. Yusuf ran, Parnell converged and slightly tugged his T-SHIRT making Yusuf swirl slightly and another point I might add is maybe Yusuf wanted to avoid treading on the ball while running as it might damage/fracture his ankle/leg. Ryan and the other KKR players including fans beleive that Yusuf never saw the ball. In Theory- The decision has cost KKR a chance in the playoffs and a chance to defend their title. Bottomline -PWI stole a victory and they should be thankful that the match was played at Ranchi not at the Eden Gardens or ...:-)

  • kotum on May 16, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    Ya i think it was intentional. When you see him running he was lifting his step and when he was about to touch the ball he was gliding it on the floor and then again he lifted his step and ran ! This i think makes it very evident that he kicked it intentionally.

  • NEOXY on May 16, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    looks intentional as far as i can see. So does the third umpire. What was he thinking. Could have won the game for KKR. But then i am glad that i didnt have to hear another of Gambhir's we still have a chance to make it to the top 4 statements again.

  • muski on May 16, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    My interpretatio of the incident is this. Both YP and Parnell were guilty of blocking each others way and that got evened out. However what did YP in was the fact that he used his footballing skills to divert the ball away and that according to me was a right decision in giving him out

  • sivadubai on May 16, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    All I can is, with so much of experience gained and the knowledge of the Game, Yusuf Pathan did make it look silly, either intentional or unintentional. You call it height of stupidity, innocuous or whatever? Yusuf has to grow up. He is another Gambhir & Virat no doubt.

  • on May 16, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    it it is intentional then Parnell and Yusuf made the same mistake.the umpire could have cancelled the run and resume the play.from the earlier comments its clear some of you are glad that kkr is out.but the tournament actually lost the excitement.and pls dnt talk about fair judgements.when Chennai and Mumbai actually retained all the players after the third edition where was the law? be cricket or life we will have our choices but its not right to have a biased opinion.we love our respective teams for sure.but most importantly we love the game of cricket.i hope u all agree :)

  • on May 16, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    he tried to save das's wicket.1'st win 4 pune after april 15 4 pune.good.kkr dose'nt deseve place in play off's

  • on May 16, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    No doubt about that decision. He kicked it like a penalty. Would have got away with it if he just ran straight over the ball and not kicked it & even if he was not looking at the ball then he should have kick the ball from the front of his toes but he just turned on some angle and Bang. Very fair decision of obstructing the field. Little Things telling the impact. KKR was right on the top of the game but the immaturity of Pathan not only he was given out but KKR has been thrown out the IPL 2013.

  • Rocky_Team on May 16, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    No doubt it was intentional..1. He saw that his partner was not running, so he has to turn back but he was so far down...no chance of making the ground...so the best way out was to kick the ball 2. His foot changed the angle to intentionally kick it. BTW...Parnell did not obstruct him...Parnell was trying to collect the ball & as Yusuf came onto him...naturally his hands would go up to protect himself.

  • satishchandar on May 16, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    There was a similar incident with David Hussey obstructing field and Lee blocking Sachin in Australia.. In David Hussey case, he saw the ball and pulled out hand top block it where it was termed as 'he saved himself' when ball was atleast a feet away from him.. With Lee, it was the same reason mentioned in the article - He never saw where Sachin was whereas, for a cricketer, it would be very obvious to predict where the ball or player is running.. In Australia, bebefit of doubt was given to Hussey and Lee whereas, different umpire in different scenario gave it against Pathan..

  • skb.junior on May 16, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Yusuf did seem to give ball a gentle push intentionally. He only triggered KKR's downfall. Poor guy.

  • ChogaLal on May 16, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    Definitely intentional on Yusuf's part, even though he was looking away, but violation of Law 42.5 occurred before violation of Law 37 (Parnell held Yusuf back before he kicked the ball). Should have been declared a dead ball. Wrong decision on the part of the third umpire. Are they influenced by tv commentators who kept pointing out Yusuf's violation and not Parnell's?

  • British_North_America on May 16, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    The best decision would have been a dead ball call.

  • on May 15, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    I have watched the video several times as you can see it on highlights. It was Parnell's holding of Yusuf's arms caused Yusuf to hit the ball. It looks more intentional on Parnell's part than Yusuf.

  • on May 15, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    this decision was totally false by the umpire , first you have to see that Parnell was holding Yousuf's hand out of desperation, Yousuf could have won this game had Parnell not grab him first , i am so disappointed to see that there is no check & balance for wroung decision by the umpire KKR was a clear winner.

  • mngc1 on May 15, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    When you watch Parnell's hands it is clear that he intended to hold Yusuf because he never went for the ball. Avoiding contact with Yusuf would require open palms more in a pushing action. His hands were positioned to hold and block the batsman's forward movement. There was contact and that is where the decision should have been made as it was the first incident. Therefore whether Yusuf kicked the ball became irrevelant.

    In any case there was never a chance of a run out as Yusuf would have been in the crease before Parnell could pick up the ball. Very bad decision.

  • SidsIPLTeam on May 15, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    A very tough one indeed for the third umpire. But, once Yusuf was able to cross Parnell's outstretched arm, I think they was no chance of a runout even if Parnell had collected it cleanly. So, there is a chance that due to Das not responding, Yusuf stopped running midway & that got his body into a tangle & his feet into sideways instead of being straight, which is the case when one runs at speed. And in the same motion he accidentally kicked the ball, which was right next to him, looking more like a footballer. That was considered intentional leading to this decision. Honestly, he was looking up at Das and not at the ball also. This is a classic case & as a neutral I believe that both parties were at fault with Parnell blocking Pathan first. Hence, under the circumstances, dead ball should have been the best result even though that would have made the fielding side unhappy. Add to that stakes were high in this match. So, not sure the right decision was made in the end.

  • on May 15, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Isn't the onus on the batsman to not obstruct the fielder? Forget kicking the ball. Didn't Pathan deliberately obstruct Parnell from collecting the ball by running between him and the ball?

  • on May 15, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    Intentions can't really be judged....if the rule book says certain things you should follow that....Parnell obstructed Pathan before he kicked the ball...Seemed unfair to me...the best decision would have been to cancel the run and continue with proceedings

  • on May 15, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    I do not agree that you need to have your eye on the ball till the end to hit it intentionally.

  • on May 15, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Bad decision. It should have been a dead ball. There was doubt and both players were guilty. In that case it not should have been ruled out on one guy.

  • Jay_Sampat on May 15, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    i am a KKR fan. I am dissapointed by the loss today but it looked intentional from Yousuf's part.

  • on May 15, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    first thing first, what was yusuf doing going for that single, he just got 14 in first 3 balls and only 23 to get in 13 after this, he should have remained on strike..there was no single and there was no need.. lets not blame the 3rd umpire..he is not a judge to decide on intent.. and BTW pathan was not required to look at the ball, he had general idea where its rolling because it was in his view when he started running.. he slowed down when he realized that non striker not coming and he cant turn back..there was no single. he should have retained the strike..bad judgement.. from Yusuf first..

  • abhishekjha07 on May 15, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Well!!! The decision certainly seemed the right one in the end..

  • sree_yuvi on May 15, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    It was intentional........

  • sree_yuvi on May 15, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    It was intentional........

  • abhishekjha07 on May 15, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Well!!! The decision certainly seemed the right one in the end..

  • on May 15, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    first thing first, what was yusuf doing going for that single, he just got 14 in first 3 balls and only 23 to get in 13 after this, he should have remained on strike..there was no single and there was no need.. lets not blame the 3rd umpire..he is not a judge to decide on intent.. and BTW pathan was not required to look at the ball, he had general idea where its rolling because it was in his view when he started running.. he slowed down when he realized that non striker not coming and he cant turn back..there was no single. he should have retained the strike..bad judgement.. from Yusuf first..

  • Jay_Sampat on May 15, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    i am a KKR fan. I am dissapointed by the loss today but it looked intentional from Yousuf's part.

  • on May 15, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Bad decision. It should have been a dead ball. There was doubt and both players were guilty. In that case it not should have been ruled out on one guy.

  • on May 15, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    I do not agree that you need to have your eye on the ball till the end to hit it intentionally.

  • on May 15, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    Intentions can't really be judged....if the rule book says certain things you should follow that....Parnell obstructed Pathan before he kicked the ball...Seemed unfair to me...the best decision would have been to cancel the run and continue with proceedings

  • on May 15, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Isn't the onus on the batsman to not obstruct the fielder? Forget kicking the ball. Didn't Pathan deliberately obstruct Parnell from collecting the ball by running between him and the ball?

  • SidsIPLTeam on May 15, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    A very tough one indeed for the third umpire. But, once Yusuf was able to cross Parnell's outstretched arm, I think they was no chance of a runout even if Parnell had collected it cleanly. So, there is a chance that due to Das not responding, Yusuf stopped running midway & that got his body into a tangle & his feet into sideways instead of being straight, which is the case when one runs at speed. And in the same motion he accidentally kicked the ball, which was right next to him, looking more like a footballer. That was considered intentional leading to this decision. Honestly, he was looking up at Das and not at the ball also. This is a classic case & as a neutral I believe that both parties were at fault with Parnell blocking Pathan first. Hence, under the circumstances, dead ball should have been the best result even though that would have made the fielding side unhappy. Add to that stakes were high in this match. So, not sure the right decision was made in the end.

  • mngc1 on May 15, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    When you watch Parnell's hands it is clear that he intended to hold Yusuf because he never went for the ball. Avoiding contact with Yusuf would require open palms more in a pushing action. His hands were positioned to hold and block the batsman's forward movement. There was contact and that is where the decision should have been made as it was the first incident. Therefore whether Yusuf kicked the ball became irrevelant.

    In any case there was never a chance of a run out as Yusuf would have been in the crease before Parnell could pick up the ball. Very bad decision.