It was a fourth ODI between England and New Zealand at The Oval where this run-out controversy took place. The main actors were Grant Elloit, kiwi batsman, and Ryan Sidebottom, England bowler. Both batsman and bowler collided on mid-pitch incidentally, but England, showing a disrespect to the ‘Spirit of the game’ went on and appealed and as a result Umpires were forced to give Elliot out. New Zealand, though, won that match by 1 wicket. Paul Collingwood’s failure to withdraw appeal for the run-out of Grant Elliott after a mid-pitch collision erupted into a huge controversey after the game. There were boos in the crowd, and New Zealand, even after sneaking a one-wicket victory off the last ball, were stubborn enough to slam the dressing-room door in Collingwood’s face. But then the apologies started soon. Thanks to his regret, he escaped with what will be classified as a monumental embarrassment for the Gentlemen’s game. Collingwood did have a hearing with the match referee, Javagal Srinath, but that was about England’s slow over-rate. The topic of why he had refused the umpire Mark Benson’s invitation to withdraw his appeal was never officially broached. “It was in the heat of the moment,” England’s then one-day captain later explained. “Both players collided. I asked Sid [Sidebottom] straight away if he was going for the ball and he said 100% he was going for the run-out. A split-second decision had to be made and in a tight game like that emotions were running high. The umpire asked me straight away if I wanted to uphold my appeal because the collision had been tough luck on Grant Elliott and I said yes. “I have never been in that situation before as a captain. It is a difficult decision to make. In hindsight I wish I had called him back. You come off the pitch and wonder if you should have done things differently. I hold my hands up and say I probably made the wrong decision, and that is something that I will have to live with. I apologise to the New Zealand lads. “You always try to set an example as a captain. The cricket was so tense at the time that it was a massive decision. As a captain I was thinking, ‘What is the right or wrong thing to do here?'” Daniel Vettori, New Zealand’s captain, on the other hand, said that their last-ball win had permitted life to move on a lot quicker. He said: “I want to apologise for our team’s reaction and my reactions. It took a long time to calm down. I think with what has happened in the last 18 months in cricket there has been a real push for the spirit of the game. That match was as tense as it gets and we were apologetic for maybe the way we acted on the balcony. “I like to think it’s a decision that I will never have to make and that, if I do, I won’t make it. Paul came to speak to us and was contrite so we will move on and hopefully it doesn’t happen again. You also want your senior players to step up and ensure you make the right decision. Once an opponent’s hands go on a batsman you have to stop things.” Interestingly enough, Law 37 states that “Either batsman is out Obstructing the field if he willfully obstructs or distracts the opposing side by word or action.” The Run-Out Law (Law 38), stipulates that “Either batsman is out Run out, except as in 2 below, if at any time while the ball is in play (i) he is out of his ground and (ii) his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side. So technically Elliot was out, but should Collingwood and England have appealed? Probably not.

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