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What is Timed Out in Cricket? Understanding How Angelo Mathews was Dismissal

In a historic moment during the 2023 Cricket World Cup, Angelo Mathews faced a rare “timed out” dismissal after a helmet malfunction, creating drama and intrigue in the cricketing world.

In the world of cricket, where legends are made and matches are filled with thrilling moments, there are occasional occurrences that leave a lasting mark in the annals of the sport’s history. One such remarkable incident unfolded during the 2023 Cricket World Cup when Angelo Mathews, representing Sri Lanka, found himself at the center of an unprecedented event. On that fateful day, November 6, 2023, in a match against Bangladesh at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, Mathews faced a situation that had rarely been witnessed in the cricketing world. His unexpected helmet malfunction led to an appeal by the Bangladesh team for a dismissal method so rare that it had never occurred in an international match before: the “timed out” dismissal. In the midst of frustration and drama, Mathews’s refusal to leave the field for several minutes marked a unique and historic chapter in the sport of cricket. Let’s delve into what this unusual dismissal method is all about.

What is Timed Out?

In cricket, “timed out” is a method of dismissal that occurs when a new batsman is not ready to play within three minutes of the previous batsman being out. This rule exists to ensure that the game doesn’t slow down due to unnecessary delays. This dismissal is so unusual that it had never occurred in any international match until Angelo Mathews experienced it during the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Background of Timed Out

The idea of a timed dismissal was added to the cricket laws in 1980, giving two minutes for the incoming batsman to step onto the field. In 2000, this was extended to three minutes for the batsman to be ready to take guard or for their partner to be ready to receive the next ball. However, the concept of timing a batsman has been around for much longer, with the first printed laws of cricket from 1775 already requiring two minutes for each new batsman to come in.

In the past, there have been instances of players being ruled as “timed out.” For example, in 1919, Harold Heygate was given out in this way during a County Championship match. The MCC ruled that he was correctly timed out, and today, his innings is recorded as “absent hurt” rather than “timed out.”

Current Law

As per Law 40 of the Laws of Cricket, an incoming batsman must be in position to take guard or for their partner to be ready to receive the next ball within three minutes of the fall of the previous wicket. If this doesn’t happen, the incoming batsman can be declared “timed out” upon appeal.

In cricket, there’s no fixed batting order, so if no batsman is on the field when the appeal is made, the batting captain can choose any player who hasn’t batted yet to be given out. This often leads to the team’s worst batsman being selected for this unusual dismissal.

If the delay becomes excessive, and it appears that the batting team is refusing to play, the umpires can award the match to the opposing team. However, if no player can come to the wicket due to injury or illness, they won’t be given out timed out. Instead, the innings will be declared closed with a note indicating the reason for the absence.

In Twenty20 cricket, there’s a stricter rule, requiring a batsman to be on the field within 90 seconds.

List of batters dismissed through Tinmed-out

Here’s a table summarizing some notable instances of batsmen being dismissed by the “timed out” method in various cricket formats:

FormatBatsmanTeamOpponentMatch DateCircumstances
Test CricketSachin TendulkarIndiaSouth Africa2006-2007 SeriesIneligible to bat due to being replaced as a fielder for 18 minutes, but not dismissed on appeal.
Test CricketNathan LyonAustraliaEngland2023 Ashes SeriesMoved closer to the field due to injury to avoid the possibility of being timed out, scored runs eventually.
First-classAndrew JordaanEastern ProvinceTransvaal1987-88 SeasonPrevented from reaching the ground by flooded roads.
First-classHemulal YadavTripuraOrissa1997-98 SeasonIn conversation with team manager on the boundary, did not attempt to reach the crease.
First-classVasbert DrakesBorderFree State2002 SeasonStill on his way to the match by airplane from the West Indies when he was due to bat.
First-classAJ HarrisNottinghamshireDurham UCCE2003 SeasonSuffering from a groin strain, took too long to reach the crease and was given out on appeal.
First-classRyan AustinCombined CampusesWindward Islands2013-14 SeasonNumber 11 batsman, failed to reach the crease in the requisite amount of time.
First-classCharles KunjeMatabeleland TuskersMountaineers2017-18 SeasonThe specific circumstances of the dismissal are not mentioned.
One Day CricketAngelo MathewsSri LankaBangladesh2023 Cricket World CupAppealed after a helmet malfunction caused a delay, Mathews eventually left the field.

Dismissals in Different Formats

While timed out dismissals are very rare, there have been a few instances in various cricket formats. In test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar was almost ruled out due to a delay but wasn’t dismissed in this manner. In the 2023 Ashes series, Australian player Nathan Lyon took extra precautions to avoid being timed out due to an injury.

In first-class cricket, a few players have faced this dismissal, often due to unusual circumstances, such as weather conditions or injury. In one-day cricket, Angelo Mathews made history as the first player to be timed out in an international match during the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

In conclusion, being timed out in cricket is extremely rare and often due to unique situations. It’s a rule designed to keep the game flowing smoothly and ensure that players are ready to continue the action promptly. Even though it’s an uncommon way to leave the field, it adds another layer of intrigue to this wonderful sport.

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