Worcestershire did a bizarre thing in the field during their Natwest T20 Blast game against Northamptonshire last night when they had no one behind the stumps as the wicketkeeper became an extra fielder. Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell asked his team’s wicketkeeper Ben Cox to remove his keeping gloves and pads and become an extra fielder as no one stood behind the stumps to England International Moeen Ali’s bowling.
According to Mitchell, the ploy developed as an extension of MS Dhoni’s decision to stand back to the spinners while keeping for India in the Test series in England last summer. The umpires too didn’t have any hesitation in allowing to have an extra fielder after they consulted with the match referee and allowed it.
Worcestershire Chairman Steve Rhodes said that in cricket, the job of a team is stop the opposition from scoring and the ploy used by his team was legal. In a game when you’re trying to stop the opposition scoring, it’s a legitimate tactic, Rhodes said.
One of the things I challenged the coaches in the winter to do, was to try and come up with some ideas that might just knock the opposition off their guard a little bit. It came about when I watched MS Dhoni stand back to the spinners for India and I thought that was a great idea. Afterwards, he said he wanted another catcher around the corner and he felt he could do that himself, standing back. That’s how it started us thinking about it, Rhodes added.
Northants batsman at that point of time Jack Cobb too said that it was legal to do so. He also added that he was not sure that it was under the spirit of the game as no one had done it in the past. Cobb said I saw Daryl Mitchell telling 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.