With the Ranji Trophy around the corner, let us look back to a strange incident that took place in the tournament’s 1997-98 season – the 64th edition.
Few expected anything out of the ordinary when Orissa, definitely the stronger team, racked up 521/8 declared in their first innings of the zonal match against Tripura at Cuttack. 21 year-old Pravanjan Mullick notched up an impressive 201, while skipper Sanjay Raul made 139 – the duo putting on 243 for the 3rd wicket. Tripura ended the second day of the 4-day match 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 – their last six wickets falling for 65 runs. Tripura had lost their ninth wicket at 235, with last man Hemulal Yadav the only one remaining. Before he 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. But apparently, 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’ – only the second such victim in first-class cricket after Eastern Province’s Andrew Jordaan, who had failed to arrive on the ground against Transvaal at Port Elizabeth in 1987-88. This turned out to be Yadav’s last first-class match – he made 11 runs and took 24 wickets in his eight-match career.
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 a rare occurrence (only four instances thus far in first-class cricket, none in international cricket).
But perhaps the most bizarre 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!
Match Scorecard – http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/65/65022.html