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'Complete control': Moises rejects fuss over 'embarrassing oversight', 'flat out wrong' BBL catch controversy

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26th December, 2023
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Moises Henriques insists his catch to remove Tom Rogers in the Big Bash League was taken cleanly, raising fresh questions over grey areas in cricket’s rules.

The Melbourne Stars claimed their first win of the season in Tuesday night’s eight-wicket win over the Sydney Sixers, breathing new life into their season.

But the main talking point from the game was Henriques’ sensational catch to remove Tom Rogers early in the Stars’ chase.

Leaping high in the air at mid off, Henriques took the ball cleanly before falling to the ground with the ball appearing to touch the turf while in his right hand.

Cricket’s rules state that a catch is not complete until the fielder is in full control of their body, meaning the ball cannot touch the ground during that period.

The catch was sent upstairs with a soft call of out, before third umpire Claire Polosak found insufficient evidence to overturn the decision while unsure if Henriques had his fingers under the ball.

“I obviously felt it was out,” Henriques said.

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“I felt I had complete control over the ball … I felt like the ball was never going to come out once I had landed.

“I didn’t really get a good look at the replay to be honest because I was off with the physio at the time.

“I was surprised when they told me they were checking. I just thought it was out. There was never a bobble in the hand or anything. So it felt pretty clean to me.”

The wicket evoked memories of Mitchell Starc’s denied catch of Ben Duckett in the Ashes, when he caught a ball at Lord’s but rubbed it along the ground as he slid across the turf.

Henriques conceded his catch was similar, amid a grey area in the game where fielders are confident they have the ball under control even if rules state otherwise.

“I thought Mitch’s was out as well at Lord’s as well, and I obviously felt mine was out,” the Sixers captain said.

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“It’s a bit of a grey area at the moment in the game.

“Back in the day, those types of dismissals are just called out all the time.

“But obviously now with the video rate is bigger and clearer than ever, they can really slow that down and have a big look at it.”

“I’m not sure that if there’s a little bit of a finger under the ball, if that’s out.

“Or if you’re still holding the ball completely, or if you’re using the ground to control the ball, then maybe that shouldn’t be out.

“But I felt like I never lost control of the ball.”

Henriques hurt his left shoulder taking the catch, and while he stayed on the field the Sixers will see how he pulls up before their next clash with Sydney Thunder on Saturday.

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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.

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“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.

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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 later spoke to Seven to 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.”

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She found an unlikely ally in Rogers. “I actually think it’s out,” Rogers said after the game.

“Moises controlled it and took it beautifully, but I suppose it’s just a grey area with what’s happened in the other game with Mitch Starc’s one.

“It’s obviously a hard one to be on the rough side of it, but at the end of the day I’ve hit a bad shot and he has taken a nice catch so it probably is 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.”

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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.

Rogers’ dismissal prompted a minor collapse of 4-38, including that of Glenn Maxwell’s dismissal for 12 one ball after he launched Jackson Bird deep over the square-leg boundary.

But Beau Webster and Hilton Cartwright were then able to stabilise the innings, putting on a 56-run stand and getting the margin down to 34 from 22 balls.

And while Webster was caught at long on for 35 trying to take down Sean Abbott, Cartwright was able to get the Stars home with an unbeaten 47.

Earlier, Pakistani spinner Usama Mir had helped set up the win with 3-19 off four overs early in the innings.

His wickets included Henriques when he deceived the Sixers captain and had him stumped, before a quicker ball drew Jordan Silk’s edge later in the over.

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James Vince was able to steady the ship for the Sixers, getting through a difficult opening 10 overs before taking charge in the second half of the innings to finish with 83 from 55 balls.

But when he was run out by a Maxwell direct hit, the Stars were able to keep the Sixers to 14 runs from a crucial final two overs of the innings.

with AAP

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