New Zealand Test opener Tom Blundell has become the first man in first-class cricket to be dismissed obstructing the field since the handled the ball rule was removed as a mode of dismissal three years ago reports cricket.com.au.
In a match between Blundell's Wellington side and Otago at the Basin Reserve, Blundell defended a delivery down at his feet, with the ball then bouncing up to head height and threatening to fall back onto the stumps.
Sensing the danger, Blundell quickly turned and kicked at the ball with his right foot, which is permitted under the Laws of Cricket. But having not made enough contact and with the ball still heading down towards the stumps, Blundell then stuck out his right hand and deflected the ball away.
The Otago fielders appealed, and the square-leg umpire rightly gave Blundell out, dismissed for 101.
While such an action would have previously led to Blundell being dismissed handled the ball, that mode of dismissal was, in 2017, incorporated into the obstructing the field rule.
There had been 63 instances in first-class cricket of a batsman being dismissed handled the ball, including Test captains Steve Waugh, Michael Vaughan and Graham Gooch in Test cricket.
But following the ICC's tweak to the rules in 2017, Blundell's dismissal instead goes into the obstructing the field category, of which there had been only 25 previous instances and just one in New Zealand's first-class history.
At the 2018 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, South Africa's Jiveshan Pillay was dismissed obstructing the field after picking up the ball, which had stopped on the turf just a few centimetres away from the stumps.
He was the first player in a major match to be dismissed obstructing the field for a dismissal that would have previous been handled the ball.
Blundell made a superb century against Australia in last summer's Boxing Day Test and is set to open for the Black Caps in their upcoming series against the West Indies.