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OUT: Obstructing The Field In Cricket

Obstructing the field is the one of the nine methods of dismissing a batsman in the game of cricket. It means that either batsman can be given out if he willfully attempts to obstruct or divert the fielding side by word or action.

Covered under Law 37

Obstructing the field is Law 37 in the Laws of cricket established by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). A batsman can be given out for obstructing the field if he willfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.

It describes the following three circumstances where this applies (but the law is not limited to these circumstances):

  • If, in the act of playing the ball, the batsmen willfully strikes the ball with a hand not holding the bat, unless this is to avoid injury.
  • If either batsman should willfully obstruct or distract a fielder preventing a catch being made.
  • If, at any time while the ball is in play and without the consent of a fielder, he uses his bat or any part of his person, to return the ball to any fielder.


The latter situation is rarely applied, as the fielding side generally accepts that the batsman is being helpful in returning the ball. A bowler does not receive credit for the wicket when a batsman is dismissed in this fashion and any runs that have been completed before the offence is committed are scored (unless the obstruction prevents a catch being made.

First Instance of Obstructing Field International Cricket

First time batsman got out by this method was in the Test cricket and it was the only instance in Test matches since then. The only time a batsman has been dismissed obstructing the ball in a Test match was England’s Leonard Hutton; he top edged the ball and was thinking that the ball would hit the stumps, attempted to hit the ball away, thereby preventing the wicket-keeper from catching the ball.

Six occasions in One Day International (ODI) games and only one instance in Twenty20 International matches.

In most cases an obstruction occurred when a batsman thinks that he is going to be run out and he blocks the ball with his bat or changes his course while running between wickets to block the ball. The obstruction needs to be deliberate, so a batsman will not be out if the contact with the ball is accidental.

List of Players Getting Out By Obstructing Field

No Batsman Opp. Format Runs Venue Date
1 Leonard Hutton (ENG) SA Tests 64 The Oval, London, England August 16, 1951
2 Rameez Raja (PAK) ENG ODI 99 Karachi, Pakistan November 20, 1987
3 Mohinder Amarnath (IND) SL ODI 28 Ahmedabad, India October 22, 1989
4 Inzamam-ul-Haq(PAK) IND ODI 16 Peshawar, Pakistan February 6, 2006
5 Mohammad Hafeez (PAK) SA ODI 0 Durban, South Africa March 21, 2013
6 Anwar Ali (PAK) SA ODI 0 Port Elizabeth, South Africa November 27, 2013
7 Ben Stokes (ENG) AUS ODI 10 Lord’s, England September 5, 2015
8 Jason Roy (ENG) SA T20I 67 County Ground, Taunton, England June 23, 2017


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