During a NatWest T20 Blast match between Worcestershire and Northamtonshire at Wantage Road one innovative fielding ploy, inspired by MS Dhoni’s fielding strategy deployed during India’s tour of England in the last summer, has taken the umpires and batsmen by surprise.
Moeen Ali’s 90 off 50 ball helped Worcestershire to beat Northamptonshire by 14 runs.
An idea generated by Steve Rohdes, the cricket director of Worcestershire, was materialised by caption Daryl Mitchell.
During the Worcestershire’s fielding stint their captain Daryl Mitchell urged wicket-keeper Ben Cox to ditch his gloves and pads to become an extra fielder, leaving no one behind the stumps.
Two on filed umpires Nick Cook and Graham Lloyd first got confused with the ploy, they made a consultation, and then let Worcestershire to carry on with plan.
“In a game when you are trying to stop the opposition scoring, it’s legitimate tactic,” Steve Rhodes, the Worcestershire director of cricket asserted. He claimed that he was inspired by MS Dhoni’s out of box thinking during the summer Test series last year.
“It came to me about when I watched MS Dhoni stand back to the spinners for India and I thought that was great idea. Afterwards, he said, he wanted another catcher around the corner and he felt he could do that himself, standing back. That is how it started us thinking about it.”
The incident happened when Moeen Ali and Ajmal were bowling between the 16th and 18th over of the innings. Cox, the wicketkeeper removed gloves and pads and go to fly-slip, with no one keeping the stumps. Umpires Nick Cook and Graham Lloyd conferred at length and allowed play to continue, with Mitchell persisting in tactic for the spinners from thereon.
The unusual move had yielded a desired effect as Josh Cobb caught in the deep off the bowling of Ajaml for 80.
When Cobb was asked about this unorthodox fielding strategy, he said: “I saw Daryl Mitchell tell Ben Cox to go back and I thought he was going to keep from the edge of the ring. Then I turned around and saw him without pads or gloves on. It’s in the Laws and they’ve obviously looked into it and there’s no Law against it. You’ve just got to question whether it’s in the spirit of the game. But that’s probably because it’s never been done before. When they first come out, these things usually get questioned and left alone.”