A wicketkeeper’s actions in a county championship match has come under fire for going against the spirit of cricket but he and his team have claimed it’s a simple case of not knowing the rules.
Hampshire pummelled Leicestershire by an innings and 105 runs yesterday after enforcing the follow-on earlier in the contest but their dominating victory was marred by an incident early in the third innings.
Left-arm orthodox Hampshire spinner Liam Dawson managed to beat the outside edge of Hassan Azad’s bat as he tried to defend with a front-foot block in the 25th over with the ball heading through to keeper Lewis McManus.
McManus then dislodged the bails and made an appeal before the square leg umpire eventually gave Azad out.
Azad’s dismissal – or rather how McManus manufactured it – has since come under fire with replays showing the keeper holding the ball in his right glove while removing the bails with his left glove.
McManus’ actions go against Law 22.214.171.124 which states, "the wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps ... by a fielder with his/her hand or arm, providing that the ball is held in the hand or hands so used, or in the hand of the arm so used”.
Despite McManus’ actions clearly not being within the rules, he continued his appeal to umpires until he was given the dismissal and did nothing to withdraw or appeal the umpires of their mistake once he got it.
Leicestershire CEO Sean Jarvis said in a club statement he had contacted the England and Wales Cricket Board about the situation.
“For everyone at Leicestershire, the behaviour displayed by Hampshire was extremely disappointing and has no place in the game.
“I have written to the ECB following the completion of this fixture to express the concerns and disappointment of what happened.
“I hope we can resolve this matter quickly and move on from the incident.”
Hampshire captain James Vince, who has 41 international caps under his belt including 13 Tests, defended his wicketkeeper.
"Lewis is pretty down about how it looks, but from his and our point of view we weren't aware there was an issue until a few overs later," Vince told the ECB Reporters Network.
"We're talking split seconds. Had we known instantly we would have called (Azad) back.
"Knowing Lewis, if he'd known exactly what he'd done, he would have said something."