Improved live streaming helps unearth controversial Hampshire stumping

·3 min read
The moment Lewis McManus stumped Hassan Azad with his left hand while holding the ball in his right  - Leicestershire County Cricket Club
The moment Lewis McManus stumped Hassan Azad with his left hand while holding the ball in his right - Leicestershire County Cricket Club

Hampshire wicketkeeper Lewis McManus is facing disciplinary action after claiming a controversial stumping in Leicestershire’s second innings which was exposed by county cricket’s expanded live streaming.

Not that long ago McManus would probably have got away with stumping Leicestershire opener Hassan Azad even though he whipped the bails off with his left hand while holding the ball in his right hand, which was raised in the air claiming a catch.

But with cameras at either end, and an improvement in the quality of live streaming this summer of Championship cricket, McManus’ actions on day three of the game were quickly spotted by Leicestershire, who put the clip on social media before complaining to the match officials and the England & Wales Cricket Board.

Live streaming has many benefits for county cricket allowing fans to follow matches remotely on social media and county channels but it does place greater scrutiny on players. Last year Sussex bowler Mitch Claydon was banned for nine games for applying hand sanitizer to the ball, which was also picked up by the live stream cameras.

Leicestershire submitted a formal complaint to the ECB on Sunday, and a disciplinary process was started by the match referee, Stuart Cummins after play once Hampshire wrapped up an innings victory.

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“For everyone at Leicestershire, the behaviour displayed by Hampshire was extremely disappointing and has no place in the game,” said Sean Jarvis, the Leicestershire chief executive. “I have written to the ECB following the completion of this fixture to express the concerns and disappointment of what happened. I hope we can resolve this matter quickly and move on from the incident.”

It is highly unusual for a player to face a disciplinary hearing for a transgression of the laws of cricket. Normally players are punished for abusive behaviour, bowling beamers or offences such as ball tampering.

At international level Leicestershire would have been able to refer the decision and it would have been overturned by the third umpire. McManus would have been embarrassed by his actions but unlikely to have faced punishment.

He did look sheepish celebrating the wicket, and James Vince, the Hampshire captain has said they would have withdrawn the appeal and called back Hassan if they had known. Leicestershire were 59 for one following on when the incident happened.

Having taken the bails off with his left hand McManus appeals for the stumping with his right, where the ball remains - Leicestershire Cricket Club
Having taken the bails off with his left hand McManus appeals for the stumping with his right, where the ball remains - Leicestershire Cricket Club

“Lewis is pretty down about how it looks but from his and our point of view we weren't aware there was an issue until a few overs later,” said Vince. “We're talking split seconds. Had we known instantly we would have called him back and knowing Lewis if he'd known exactly what he'd done he would have said something.”

McManus could face a charge under level one or two of the ECB code, which allows officials leeway to report players for “any other misconduct, the nature of which is, in the opinion of the umpires, equivalent to” a level one or two offence. As a first offence level one results in a reprimand, level two three points on a player’s disciplinary record. Nine points in two years results in a suspension.