Derbyshire's Indian Test star Cheteshwar Pujara was dismissed in a very unusual fashion on day one of the County Championship clash between Derbyshire and Leicestershire at Derby's County Ground.
Pujara was given out 'handled the ball' after instinctively hitting the ball away to stop it breaking his wickets. The Indian was on just six runs at the time and was facing the bowling of Leicestershire's Atif Sheikh when the incident occurred.
This type of dismissal is highly unusual and has only occurred on 56 occasions in first-class cricket. In International cricket this mode of dismissal is even more rare having only occurred nine times. Seven of these dismissals have been in Test matches and two in ODIs.
By being dismissed in this fashion Pujara became the first Indian to be given out in this manner in first-class cricket.
Another Indian has been given out 'handled the ball' before. Mohinder Amarnath was given out during an ODI match between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1986.
The first international batsmen to be given out by this method was South African Russell Endean in 1957. The most recent Test batsmen to be dismissed in this way was Michael Vaughan for England against India in 2001.
The official definition of handled the ball is written in Law 33 in the laws of cricket established by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). It says that a batsman can be given out for handling the ball under two circumstances.
If the batsman intentionally touches the ball with one or both of their hands not holding the bat without the permission of the fielding side, they can be dismissed. The batsman will also be given out if, without the permission of a fielder, they return the ball to a fielder with their hands.
Derbyshire signed Pujara, 26, on a short-term deal for their final three Championship games of the season and was regarded as something of a coup for the County Ground side.
Pujara has enjoyed an impressive start to his Test match career for India. In 24 Tests so far Pujara averages over 49 and, despite struggling against England in this summer's series, Pujara is seen as a star of the future.
Derbyshire ended day one of their clash with Leicestershire having posted 289 all out in their first innings and then reduced the visitors to 25-2 in reply at the close. Whatever happens winless Leicestershire will finish bottom of Division two whilst Derbyshire will hope to cement a mid-table finish.
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