Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews has become the first cricketer to be sent off for ‘timeout’ during his team’s ICC Cricket World Cup clash against Bangladesh in an international match.

Mathews earned the dubious distinction for failing to stand on guard and agree to face the bowler within the stipulated time of two minutes from the last batsman’s dismissal.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan requested a dismissal for a “time out” which was upheld by the field referee at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, India, where the South Asian rivals faced off in unhealthy playing conditions on Monday.

Mathews came to bat after Sadeera Samarawickrama’s fall in the 25th over but was unable to fasten his helmet tightly enough as the chin strap of his helmet broke, delaying the resumption of play.

Mathews took off his helmet and gestured to the locker room, where he asked for a replacement helmet as the clock ticked away.

Under the tournament’s playing conditions, a new batsman should be ready to face the ball within two minutes, but Mathews was still waiting for his teammate Chamika Karunaratne to run in with a new helmet.

Al Hasan was seen chatting with referee Marais Erasmus before making an appeal and the batsman was adjudged a timeout.

After Bangladesh’s appeal, the umpires had a detailed discussion with the players, including Mathews.

Mathews protested with them for a while before walking off the pitch, shaking his head in dismay. Shortly after crossing the border, he threw away his helmet.

“Not good for the spirit of cricket”

Most viewers appeared confused by the decision, as the 36-year-old veteran reluctantly trotted away. Some Bangladesh fans applauded the referee’s decision.

“My point is that Mathews’ dismissal was not good for the spirit of cricket,” Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka, who hit a century in the game, told broadcasters.

Former Bangladesh captain Athar Ali Khan expressed the same view while commentating on the match.

“I don’t like what I see, it’s not good for the game. It goes against the spirit of the game, that’s how I think about it.

“If something goes wrong with the helmet, you should have a few extra minutes to fix the problem.”

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja said it is the duty of the batsman to be ready within the stipulated time.

“To some extent, it is the responsibility of cricketers to learn the rules and understand the spirit of the rules,” Raja said.

Meanwhile, former South African fast bowler Dale Steyn wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Well that wasn’t cool.”

Australian Test batsman Usman Khawaja also criticized the decision.

“Angelo made his crease, then his helmet strap broke. How does a timeout occur? I’m all for him getting a timeout if he doesn’t make his crease, but this is ridiculous. “It’s no different than a batsman coming to the crease and then taking three minutes to uncover,” he wrote on social media.

Rare type of dismissal

There are 10 types of dismissal in cricket, the rarest of which is ‘time out’.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly escaped a timeout when he had to rush onto the field after the fall of a wicket during a South Africa Test in Cape Town in 2007.

India had lost a wicket and with next batsman Sachin Tendulkar not allowed to enter the field due to time spent off the field and VVS Laxman taking a shower, the responsibility to come out fell on Ganguly, who was still wearing his tracksuit.

The timeout rule in Tests was three minutes, but Proteas captain Graeme Smith did not appeal and waited patiently for Ganguly to be eliminated despite exceeding the time limit.

There have been at least half a dozen such cases in first-class cricket, the most recent being the dismissal of Zimbabwe’s Charles Kunje in a Logan Cup match in 2017.

According to the laws of cricket, after the fall of a wicket or the dismissal of a batsman, the arriving player must be ready to receive the ball within two minutes.

The Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians said there had been six cases of “timeouts” in first-class cricket.

“No incidents have been recorded in List A or Twenty20 cricket until Mathews,” they wrote on X.

The hugely experienced Mathews was playing his 225th one-day international in a career that has produced 5,900 runs and 122 wickets.

He has also played 106 Tests and 78 Twenty20 Internationals.

The incident intensified the recent bitter rivalry between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Every time the two teams have met in recent years, there has been no shortage of provocative posters in the stands and toxic celebrations on the pitch.

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