Star New South Wales and Sydney Sixers batter Daniel Hughes has been given the most unusual of reprieves during the Blues’ six wicket win over Tasmania to open their 2023 Marsh One-Day Cup campaign.
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In the very first over of the Blues’ chase of 198, the towel customarily used to mop up sweat and maintain the ball was tucked into the back of Tigers speedster Riley Meredith’s pants as he steamed in for the penultimate ball of the over – until it wasn’t.
The white towel fell loose as Meredith took off into his delivery stride, falling onto the ground behind him as he delivered a ball just short of a length outside off stump, from which Hughes backed away from and slashed at, nicking through to wicketkeeper Caleb Jewell.
The resulting appeal saw Hughes given out caught behind by umpire Ben Treloar, before Hughes’ protests at the dismissal courtesy of the distraction saw a conference with partner Phillip Gillespie.
A brief deliberation saw Hughes recalled to the crease under Law 18.104.22.168 of the Laws of Cricket, which provides for relief for a batter that is distracted during a run-up.
“Either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball when … the striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery,” the Laws state.
“This shall apply whether the source of the distraction is within the match or outside it.”
A similar instance happened in an international match in 2022 between Ireland and New Zealand, with Irish batter Simi Singh recalled to the crease after complaining of being distracted by a towel that had fallen from Kiwi bowler Blair Tickner’s pants during delivery.
Hughes proceeded to go about his usual business of making light work of domestic one-day bowling attacks.
Hughes’ 58 from 71 deliveries was able support for a transformed Jack Edwards, who belted 92 from just 63 balls in what could be a worrying message to the rest of the competition that the Blues are back.
NSW who won just two of seven one-day games last summer, a horror run that included being bowled out for just 76 against Victoria.
“We’ve had a good pre-season and everyone was in a good place mentally to start,” Edwards said after the game.
Alongside their limited-overs woes, the Blues did not win a single Shield game at all in 2022/23, and came under significant criticism for their selection approach that appeared to favour youth over experience.
It came as Meredith’s red-hot start to the season was derailed in just his second over, with the 27-year-old forced from the field due to injury.
A rapid spell from the Australian prospect had troubled Victoria in their first Marsh Cup game as he claimed 1-29 from his 10 overs, but against the Blues he only made it through 11 balls.
The fast bowler’s injury was a further blow for the Tasmanians who have lost the opening two matches of their one-day campaign and keeper Matthew Wade was given a two-game suspension after a third code of conduct breach in the past 18 months.
– with NCA NewsWire