This edition of our Cricket Bizarre series comprises of four dismissals in the cricket history, which are definitely unique in its own kind.
The Cricket law says that a person will be declared out by hitting the wicket if a bail is completely removed from the stumps or a stump is struck out of the ground by any part of the striker’s bat or clothing or equipment or by the person himself. For example, Roy Fredericks got out in the 1975 World Cup final when he fell on the wicket after hooking a bouncer to six. On the other hand, there are many instances when the bat hit the wicket and a player was declared out. But, how often have you seen someone getting out by hitting the wicket with his clothing or an equipment? You may even wonder whether it has ever happened or not.
Quite surprisingly, there are as many as four instances where a batsman had to return to the pavilion after the bails were removed by his cap or the helmet. In this article, we are going to recollect those unfortunate incidents.
It all started in the historic Australia-West Indies series that took place in 1960-61. In the second test, the spectators were bemused to see one rare dismissal, that later became famous as the Joe Solomon Cap Incident. The West Indian went on the back foot to play a usual delivery from Australian spinner Richie Benaud when his cap fell onto the stumps, thereby dislodging a bail. The fielders made no mistake to appeal and the umpire gave Solomon out. It was definitely a right decision as per the laws and the scorecard read J Solomon hit wicket b Benaud. However, the crowd reacted to what they deemed as an unsportsmanlike appeal and booed Australian captain Benaud for the rest of the afternoon.
Fourteen years down the line and a similar fate befell Ashok Mankad in a Test against England in 1974. It was the second innings of the third test of the series and the son of famous Vinoo Mankad was batting on 4. Suddenly, as he tried to evade a lifting delivery from Chris Old, his cap fell on the stumps and dislodged the bails, to bring an unfortunate end to the innings. Mankad was declared out by hit wicket, similar to Solomon.
Another Indian batsman, Dilip Vengsarkar fell victim to the same fate in Brisbane during India’s Down Under trip in 1977-78 when Jeff Thomson shot a fiery bouncer to his way. Vengsarkar yanked his head away from the delivery only to have his hat drop onto the stumps and end the innings.
The latest name to this list of unfortunate cricketers is Kevin Pietersen, who was out in a similar fashion against West Indies when his helmet fell onto the stumps courtesy a Dwayne Bravo bouncer. Here is a video of this bizarre dismissal of the Englishman.
So, these are the four batsmen whose cap betrayed them and got them out. However, interestingly, there was one lucky cap that fell on the stumps but never disturbed the bails. It was in 1853 when George Parr, playing for England XI in Lord’s, had the breeze blow his hat onto the stumps. The hat stayed there and when the umpire removed it, to Parr’s comfort, found that the bails were intact and Parr survived.
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Photo by NAPARAZZI