‘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.
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’.
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,” 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,” 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.
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.