Let us look back to a strange incident that took place on the final day of the East Zone match between hosts Orissa and Tripura, played from December 17-20, 1997 at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack in the Ranji Trophy’s 64th edition.
Few expected anything out of the ordinary when Orissa, definitely the stronger team, declared at 521/8 in their first innings. The 21 year-old Pravanjan Mullick, batting at number three, notched an impressive 201, while skipper Sanjay Raul made 139 – the duo put on 243 for the third wicket. Tripura ended the second day at a tricky 35/2.
A few of the batsmen got starts, but none could capitalise as seamer Debashish Mohanty scalped 5/48 to ensure that Tripura were bowled out for 235 early on the final day – their last six wickets falling for 65 runs. Tripura had lost their ninth wicket at 235, with Hemulal Yadav the remaining batsman to come.
Before Yadav could come on to the wicket, the umpires called a drinks break instead of waiting for the innings to close. Yadav spent the break sitting near the boundary. When play was about to resume, the players and umpires went back to their positions and waited for Yadav to take his place at the crease.
(source – wikipedia.org)
But remarkably, Yadav felt no rush of blood to come and have a go, or maybe he was too disinterested to bat in the heat. The umpires eventually declared him ‘Timed Out’ – then the first such instance recorded in first-class cricket. This turned out to be Yadav’s last first-class match – he made eleven runs and took 24 wickets in his eight-match career.
Yadav ultimately became the second ‘Timed Out’ victim in first-class cricket, after Eastern Province opener Andrew Jordaan, who had failed to arrive on the ground against Transvaal in 1987-88. This particular Howa Bowl match, played at Port Elizabeth, was accorded first-class status only in 2006, hence retrospectively making Jordaan the first ‘Timed Out’ victim.
Law 31 of the Laws Of Cricket provides that an incoming batsman must be in position to take guard or for his partner to be ready to receive the next ball within three minutes of the fall of the previous wicket. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batsman will be given out ‘timed out’ on appeal.
Probably, Yadav thought that getting out in this fashion was the only way for his name to be mentioned in Wisden, as it is an extremely rare occurrence (only four instances thus far in first-class cricket, none in international cricket).
But perhaps the most bizarre of them all was the third ‘Timed Out’ dismissal in first class cricket. In 2002, Border’s West Indian fast bowler Vasbert Drakes was declared in this unusual manner against Free State at East London. His case was all the more peculiar, as he was not even in the country at the time – his flight to South Africa had been delayed by several hours!