The job of a batsman in cricket is to score runs with the bat. There have been a handful of instances when a batsman has brought his hands into play. However, batsmen have never used their hands with the aim of scoring runs.
Before 2017, there was a law known as “handled the ball.” According to this law, the batsman can use his hands to catch/handle the ball with his hand only on two instances. First is to avoid an injury. If the ball is directed towards the batsman’s body, he can spontaneously
deflect the ball with his hand to avoid injury. Second is to return the ball to the fielding side with their permission in case it becomes dead near the batsman.
A batsman can often be in a scenario where the ball edges him or the bat and rolls towards the stumps. In such a case, he can use any part of his body except the hand not holding the bat to deflect the ball.
In case a fielder throws the ball towards the stumps, a batsman cannot catch the ball. If he does so, he will be called out under the law called obstructing the field. In 2017, the law of handling the ball was brought under the law of obstructing the field.
There are a few points to keep in mind regarding this law:
- If a ball gets trapped in the batsman’s pads or clothing, the ball is considered dead. The batsman can then hold the ball to return to the fielding side.
- If a batsman gets out by obstructing the field, the wicket will not be credited to the bowler.
- If a batsman hits the ball and the non-strike batsman deflects the ball deliberately with this hand or bat to avoid the fielder from taking a catch, it is the striker who would be called out, not the non-striker.
In International cricket, there have bee ten occasions as of August 13th 2020, when a batsman has been declared out for obstructing the field. Seven of these occasions took place is test cricket and three of them in ODIs.