Handled the ball
Table of contents
Law 33 of the Laws of cricket provides that:
"Either batsman is out Handled the ball if he wilfully touches the ball while in play with a hand or hands not holding the bat unless he does so with the consent of the opposing side."
A batsman is not out 'handled the ball' if:
(i) He handles the ball in order to avoid injury; OR (ii) He uses his hand or hands to return the ball to any member of the fielding side without the consent of that side.
Though a batsman is out 'obstructing the field' if he uses his hand or hands to return the ball to any member of the fielding side without the consent of that side when the ball is still in play.
This method of dismissal was recorded in the first laws that were published, in 1774. Law 3 included the words "If the Striker touches or takes up the Ball before she is lain quite still, unless asked by the Bowler or Wicket-keeper, its out".
Other provisions of Law 33
If either batsman is out 'handled the ball', any runs completed before the offence, together with any penalty extras and the penalty for a No ball or Wide are still scored.
The bowler does not get credit for the wicket.
It is very unusual for a batsman to get out 'handled the ball' – there is no reason why a batsman should handle it. When it has happened, it is usually because the batsman has unthinkingly swept the ball away from his stumps whilst trying to protect his wicket. This happened to Russell Endean, Mohsin Khan, Desmond Haynes, Graham Gooch and Steve Waugh.
More controversially, Michael Vaughan was given out in Bangalore against India in 2001 when he inexplicably picked up the moving ball that was going nowhere near his stumps. This was quite controversial. Since Vaughan seemed to be picking the ball up to pass it back to the Indians, it is unclear why he wasn't given out 'obstructing the field'.
Hilditch's dismissal was even more controversial than Vaughan's. Whilst at the non-strikers end, Hilditch picked up the ball to pass back to the Pakistanis. Strictly speaking, Hilditch had broken the law and the umpire was correct to bring him out. But the appeal was against the spirit of cricket and viewed as gamesmanship.
List of batsmen dismissed 'handled the ball'
|Test match dismissals handled the ball|
|1||Russell Endean||South Africa||England||Cape Town, South Africa||5 January 1957|
|2||Andrew Hilditch||Australia||Pakistan||Perth, Australia||29 March 1979|
|3||Mohsin Khan||Pakistan||Australia||Karachi, Pakistan||23 September 1982|
|4||Desmond Haynes||West Indies||India||Bombay (now Mumbai), India||27 November 1983|
|5||Graham Gooch||England||Australia||Manchester, England||7 June 1993|
|6||Steve Waugh||Australia||India||Chennai (formerly Madras), India||19 March 2001|
|7||Michael Vaughan||England||India||Bangalore, India||19 December 2001|
|One-day international dismissals handled the ball|
|1||Mohinder Amarnath||India||Australia||Melbourne, Australia||9 February 1986|
|2||Darryl Cullinan||South Africa||West Indies||Kingsmead, South Africa||27 January 1999|