Sri-Lanka’s batsman Danushka Gunathilaka was given out for “obstructing the field” during the first ODI against the West Indies in Antigua on Wednesday.
The incident happened in the 21st over of the match when Gunathilaka played a delivery from Kieron Pollard & set off to run before changing his mind & stopping in mid-pitch. However the ball had fallen down very close to Gunathilaka’s feet & while retreating towards the crease the Sri-Lankan Opener batsman have kicked the ball away from Pollard who was attempting to field. Pollard was annoyed at Gunathilaka’s actions & appealed against the batsman for obstructing the field.
Watch the complete Incident here:
The On-field Umpire Joe Wilson referred to the third umpire while giving a soft signal of “Out”. The third umpire, on review was convinced that Gunathilaka’s actions resulted into wilful obstruction in the field & gave the batsman out.
The decision resulted in controversy as one of the commentators on air at the time, Ian Bishop called the decision as “harsh” & “unfortunate”. Former Australia Cricketer Tom Moody didn’t agree that it was a willful obstruction on the part of Gunathilaka.
“Don’t think that was willful at all,” said former West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
Clause 37.1.1 of ICC Playing Conditions states that a batsman can be given out obstructing the field “he willfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.” Gunathilaka played freely to score 55 runs off 61 balls before getting out. He hit seven boundaries & shared a 105 runs opening partnership with Captain Dimuth Karunaratne.