‘Embarrassing oversight’… ‘flat out wrong’: BBL catch controversy erupts after Ashes-esque moment


Controversy has erupted in the Big Bash League after Sydney Sixers captain Moises Henriques appeared to take a stunning catch – and injure his shoulder – to remove Melbourne Stars opener Marcus Stoinis.

With the Stars 0/28 in the fifth over chasing 155 for their first win of the season, Rogers attempted to loft Sixers quick Jackson Bird over Henriques at mid-on – only for the veteran to take a spectacular one-handed pluck at full stretch.

CATCH is the call!

Moises Henriques with an unbelievable fielding effort to dismiss Tom Rogers. Out? #BBL13 pic.twitter.com/7s4zb2Vd5m

— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 26, 2023

However, as the Sixers celebrated, a third umpire check appeared set to disallow the catch, with Henriques appearing to scrape the ball along the grass as he fell to the ground – in a similar incident to one during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s earlier this year, when Mitchell Starc was denied a catch to remove England’s Ben Duckett after the ball made contact with the turf before he had completed his movement.

However, third umpire Claire Polosak would make a different decision at the SCG, catching everyone off guard by upholding the dismissal and sending a seething Rogers on his way for 20.

Under law 33.3 of the MCC’s rules of cricket, a catch is only complete if the ball doesn’t touch the ground ‘from the time when the ball first comes into contact with a fielder’s person… [until] a fielder obtains complete control over both the ball and his/her own movement’.

“The ball’s definitely hit the deck,” former Australian – and Sixers – great Brett Lee said on Fox Cricket.

The decision quickly led to uproar on social media, with Polosak slammed by cricket commentator Adam White for ‘a really embarrassing oversight’.

This is an excellent catch by Moises. But it’s not out because he put the ball on the ground to brace his fall. Regardless of how spectacular the effort, it’s not out. Simple as that. And the umpire should know that. That’s a really embarrassing oversight. #BBL13 https://t.co/ysIxeCPBa2

— Adam White (@White_Adam) December 26, 2023

Different rules in the #BBL13 compared to normal cricket it appears…

— Adam White (@White_Adam) December 26, 2023

Based on what we saw in the Ashes & World Cup, that catch is clearly not out. @SEN_Cricket @1116sen #BBL13

— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) December 26, 2023

Former Australian Test player and Victorian leg-spinner Bryce McGain was even more scathing, saying Polosak’s decision was ‘flat out wrong’ and claiming it jeopardises the integrity of the tournament as a whole.

Wrong decision by third umpire. Flat out wrong #bbl have to get this stuff right for competition integrity @starsbbl v @sixersbbl – could cost a teams season, a players job / role in team. Great attempt @Mozzie21 Always has to be “butter side up” – this landed butter side down pic.twitter.com/qanXFs6Wts

— Bryce McGain (@BryceMcGain18) December 26, 2023

“Wrong decision by third umpire. Flat out wrong #bbl have to get this stuff right for competition integrity,” McGain wrote.

“Could cost a teams [sic] season, a players [sic] job/role in team.”

Former Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry agreed, slamming Polosak for incorrectly adjudicating.

OMG another mistake 3rd umpire sadly not understanding the rules. Great catch but as the law stands that is Not Out. Sad when the paid officials don’t know the rules ????‍????‍

— Darren Berry (@ChuckBerry1969) December 26, 2023

“OMG another mistake 3rd umpire sadly not understanding the rules. Great catch but as the law stands that is Not Out. Sad when the paid officials don’t know the rules,” Berry wrote.

However, former NSW and Australian paceman Trent Copeland saw the controversy a little differently.

Copeland, who now works as an analyst on Channel 7’s cricket coverage, called for the ICC to change its laws and make Henriques’ ‘catch’ legal.

“This rule just HAS to change. Needs to mirror the NFL,” Copeland wrote.

What a catch!

This rule just HAS to change. Needs to mirror the NFL

– Clean control before impact has to be seen.
– Make contact with the ball direct on ground, does the ball ever bobble/become out of control?

No = OUT
Yes = Not out@7cricket #BBL13


— Trent Copeland (@copes9) December 26, 2023

Polosak would later speak to 7 and explain her decision, saying the existence of a ‘soft signal’ in domestic cricket, which has been scrapped in the international game, meant she felt there was a lack of evidence to overturn the on-field call of out.

“Internationally, the ICC have removed the soft signal of out – so we’re still playing that in domestic cricket,” Polosak said.

“As I was looking through the vision… I did not have conclusive evidence to say that there were not fingers under the ball, so we stuck with the original decision of out.”

However, Stars coach Peter Moores wasn’t convinced, describing the dismissal as ‘frustrating’.

“We’ve seen two or three examples of it [Henriques’ catch]… bit frustrating on that respect,” Moores told Fox Cricket.

“Should it be given out or not? It’s a great bit of work by Henriques, but what’s happened in the past, I’d have expected him to stay in, actually.”

When asked whether he had received any clarity after seeking an explanation from officials, Moores deadpanned: “Not really.”

Fortunately for the Stars, they would recover from the controversy to secure their first win of the BBL season by four wickets with three balls to spare, after a pair of final-over boundaries from Hilton Cartwright.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.