Cricket is known as gentleman’s game but it has often bewildered us with moments of magic or a spell of madness. South African batsman Daryll Cullinan was involved in one such moment. Proteas are famous for choking but Cullinan had other ideas as he got out in probably the craziest manner – handling the ball. The bizarre incident took place on January 27, 1999 during the third match of the one-day series between host South Africa and West Indies in Durban. It was a straight delivery which Cullinan tried to cut but managed a bottom edge. The ball, after hitting the ground hard, went straight up in the air. Cullinan then caught the ball and returned it back to left-arm slow bowler Keith Arthurton. Then West Indies captain Brian Lara appealed and Cullinan was given out on 46 by umpire David Orchard.
However, Cullinan was not the first one to get out in this manner. Mohinder Amarnath, who was awarded Man of the Match in the finals and semi-finals of 1983 Cricket World Cup in England, got out in the same way against Australia during an ODI in 1986. Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh was given out handling the ball in 2001 against India during a test match.
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According to Law 33 of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) rules, a batsman can be given out for handling the ball if the batsman intentionally touches the ball with one or both of their hands not holding the bat while playing a delivery. However, a batsman will only be given not out, if he handles the ball to avoid incurring an injury. Notably, a bowler does not receive credit for the wicket when a batsman is dismissed in this fashion just like in case of a run out.