In a recent World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Angelo Mathews became the first international cricket batter to be dismissed ‘timed out’. The controversy arose when Mathews failed to take strike within the mandated two minutes following the dismissal of Sadeera Samarawickrama.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of cricket rules, stated that Mathews could have avoided this dismissal by consulting the umpires before requesting a new helmet. Mathews had signalled for a replacement helmet without explaining the situation to the umpires, leading to a delay that prompted Bangladesh to appeal.
The MCC emphasized that if Mathews had communicated with the umpires, they might have allowed him to change the helmet without the risk of being timed out. However, since time was not called, and more than two minutes had passed during the appeal, the umpires correctly ruled Mathews out.
Despite Mathews’ displeasure and labelling Bangladesh’s decision as “disgraceful,” the MCC and the International Cricket Council (ICC) defended the ‘timed out’ rule, highlighting its necessity to prevent time-wasting at the fall of a wicket. The ICC reiterated that the Spirit of Cricket is a universal concept, acknowledging that interpretations may vary, and players ultimately shape how the game is played.
The controversy led to a lack of sportsmanship, as the two teams did not shake hands after the match. Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan expressed no regrets about the decision to appeal, emphasizing the importance of enforcing rules to maintain the pace of the game. The MCC and ICC underscored the need for such regulations, particularly in timed and limited-overs cricket, to prevent significant delays and ensure fair play.