"To me cricket is a simple game. Keep it simple and just go out and play," is how Australian legend Shane Warne described the sport way back in his playing days. Tell this to KL Rahul and the Indian team, they all might just say no in unison.
On the second day of India's 500th Test, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Tom Latham were cruising through after they lost Martin Guptill early on in the innings. Indian bowlers struggled to get a breakthrough, with both batsman scoring at a brisk rate. This was until Latham swept a Ravindra Jadeja delivery and KL Rahul caught it at short leg. However, it appeared that the ball bounced once before the Indian opener caught it. Umpire Richard Kettleborough took no time in referring the decision to the third umpire.
Barring the New Zealanders' gritty performance with bat, this moment was one of the biggest talking points of day two. After seeing the initial replays, it seemed like the catch taken was clean, as the ball bounced on Latham's shoe before Rahul grabbed it. But here comes the twist. The replays showed that the ball had touched the grill of Rahul's helmet and due to an existing rule of cricket, Latham was adjudged not out.
This is what Marylebone Cricket Club states as Law 32, which is associated with the legality of wickets that concerning catches.
"If the ball strikes a helmet worn by any member of the fielding side at any time between the striker hitting the ball and the fielder completing the catch, then it cannot be out caught."
According to this rule, AK Chaudhary's decision to rule Latham not out was legal and the Indian team had nothing to complain about.
However, it also explains a way through which the fielder can take the wicket of the batsman if such an instance happens.
In the second Test of England's tour of India of 2012, Jonny Bairstow found himself unlucky to get out in the same manner, as the ball touched Gautam Gambhir's helmet before he caught it. But umpire AL Hill ruled him out and the England batsman had to make the long walk to the pavilion.
In such an instance, what the fielding team can do is run the batsman out in case the decision goes to the third umpire.
This is what the law says, "....if the ball has hit the grill of the helmet, the fielder or indeed one of his team-mates can throw the ball at the stumps to attempt a run out."
Bairstow in 2012 was unfortunate, but Latham at Kanpur was allowed to continue his innings, thanks to the commendable job by the third umpire. But from here on, each cricket team knows what to do when such an occurrence happens. When in doubt, run the batsman out and then celebrate!