Sam Harper given out obstructing the field against South Australia

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The dismissal occurred when he moved to block a throw at the stumps from bowler Dan Worrall

Victoria opener Sam Harper was given out obstructing the field in the early stages of the team’s final Marsh Cup match against South Australia.

The incident happened when he played the ball back to Dan Worrall in his follow through and came well out the crease when playing the stroke. Worrall then threw the ball towards the stumps at which point Harper made an obvious movement to block the throw which was on target with him still out of the crease.

South Australia, led by Travis Head, appealed and it led to a lengthy conversation between on-field umpires Peter Gillespie and and Sam Nogajski before the third umpire, Shawn Craig, eventually confirmed the dismissal.

Commentating on Fox Cricket, former Australia allrounder Andrew Symonds quickly felt Harper was in trouble. “Obviously Harper went down the wicket and it’s whether he made his ground or not when the ball was thrown back,” he said. “I’d say if he’s behind the crease he wouldn’t be obstructing but if his feet are in front of the crease he may well be given out here because you can’t do that…oh, yeah, I’d give that out.”

Obstructing the field is Law 37: “Either batsman is out Obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, and while the ball is in play, he/she willfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.”

The MCC’s learning guide for the laws adds: “A batsman will be considered to have obstructed the field if, without justification (such as to avoid a fielder), he/she alters his/her running path which prevents a throw from causing a run out. The fact that the thrown ball might not have hit the stumps does not prevent a dismissal under this part of the Law.”

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