Ajinkya Rahane called back after being given out obstructing the field in Ranji Trophy match against Assam


In an unprecedented turn of events during the Ranji Trophy 2024, seasoned Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane encountered a rare instance where he was initially given out for obstructing the field. The dramatic episode unfolded against Assam at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy on a bustling Friday, moments before the anticipated tea break. However, the former India Test vice-captain returned to the pitch in the subsequent session after a withdrawal of the on-field appeal by the opposition.

Mumbai, having routed Assam for a meager 84 runs, experienced an unexpected wobble themselves before Rahane, alongside Shivam Dube, steadied the ship. The duo’s gritty partnership elevated Mumbai from a precarious 60/4 to a more respectable position by the close of the day’s play.

The controversial incident occurred during the 25th over of Mumbai’s innings. Rahane, having scored 18 runs, nudged the ball to mid-on, seeking a quick single. The debutant Dibakar Johri was at the receiving end, and as Rahane hustled back to the crease following Dube’s retreat call, he was struck by Denish Das’ throw. The Assam contingent promptly appealed for an obstruction of field dismissal.

In a swift, yet surprising decision, the umpire at the time deemed Rahane out, leading to an abrupt tea break call. The narrative took an unexpected twist when Rahane re-emerged to bat post-break, as Assam players had rethought their stance and pulled back their appeal during the intermission.

When Rahane’s innings concluded, it was with a modest 22 runs from 69 balls, felled by Johri. Despite Rahane’s personal struggle to up the ante, the collective team effort proved to be more fruitful, largely thanks to Dube’s powerhouse century.

Delving into the intricacies of Rahane’s dismissal, Mumbai’s fast bowler Shardul Thakur disclosed post-match that the Assam coach had personally apologized to Rahane. Furthermore, the coach had reiterated this sentiment to the dressing room, acknowledging the withdrawal of the appeal. Video replays showcased Rahane maintaining a straight run, consistent with the rules of cricket. It was this footage that perhaps swayed the Assam coach, who recognized that the obstruction had not been deliberate.

Shardul opened up regarding the moral conundrum faced by Rahane, who, despite the overturned decision, was hesitant to return to the crease due to his personal code of ethics. The Mumbai squad, however, managed to convince their captain that his return would serve the greater good of the team.

Like a scene from a cricketing drama, Rahane’s reinstatement to the crease was both unusual and contentious. His hesitance to resume batting underscored a broader dialogue about sportsmanship and the spirit of the game, even as his teammates stressed the importance of seizing every permissible advantage.

As the day wrapped up, the spotlight shifted to the heroics of Shivam Dube, who notched his second ton of the season, ending the day unbeaten with 101 runs off just 95 deliveries. Dube’s explosive performance propelled Mumbai to 217/6, thereby establishing a lead of 133 runs—a testament to Mumbai’s depth and resilience.

The intriguing sequence of events in the match added a layer of complexity to cricket’s moral codes and underlined the game’s unpredictable nature. Not only did it showcase Rahane’s character in the face of adversity, but it also highlighted the importance of camaraderie and the unwritten rules that often govern sports beyond the black and white text of the rulebook.

In the backdrop of this incident were other cricketing narratives, such as Annabel Sutherland’s blistering double-century in women’s Test cricket and the much-anticipated PSL 2024. Icons Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble also made headlines, lauding Ravichandran Ashwin for his historic achievements in a Test at Rajkot.

However, it was the Mumbai-versus-Assam encounter that captured the day’s cricket saga, featuring a moment that will likely be recounted for years to come in the annals of the Ranji Trophy’s rich history.

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