The standard of fielding in cricket has gone up by leaps and bounds. One of the greatest innovations that has come into the game, brought in by fielders, is the method of catching the ball close to the boundary line, and when the momentum is taking the fielder over the line, to throw the ball up in the air, cross the line, come back and take the catch.
We have seen numerous examples of this in the past decade. Another variation of this tactic is catching the ball and, before the fielder makes contact with the rope, throwing it to another player standing nearby.
But what happened in the Big Bash League match between Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat on Thursday was something altogether new and unseen in cricket. In the first innings of the match, Hobart opener Matthew Wade was facing Ben Cutting in the 15th over. Wade went for a big hit over the leg-side and slightly mistimed the stroke.
The ball went high in the air towards long-on where Matt Renshaw was getting under it. He managed to catch the ball but was about to go over the boundary rope. Renshaw lobbed the ball up in the air before his feet made contact with the area on the other side of the line. Unfortunately, the ball didn't go towards the deep midwicket fielder who was standing nearby.
The ball was coming down on the other side of the boundary. At this stage, Renshaw jumped up in the air and pawed the ball towards the other fielder, who took the catch gleefully. However, most people thought that the catch wouldn't matter because surely Renshaw's feet were touching the ground on the wrong side of the boundary when he pawed the ball.
But guess what? Replays showed that when Renshaw pushed the ball towards his teammate, both his feet were above the ground and hence, the catch was deemed clean. This led to a major controversy about the rules of the game. However, one cannot deny that the Australian fielder showed great presence of mind.