The third Test between West Indies and England at St. Lucia witnessed a strange moment and it involved Ben Stokes. The left-hander, who was batting on 52, looked to pull a short ball from Alzarri Joseph but he got the toe-end of the bat and the sharp catch was taken by the bowler. Stokes was headed back to the pavilion and he reached the dressing room. Jonny Bairstow was already on his way and ready to take guard. However, on the giant screen, there were replays which showed that Joseph had overstepped and this made the English section of the crowd at the Darren Sammy stadium vocal. The umpires had a look and they made an unprecedented decision to call back Stokes from the dressing room.
In the old days, the rule stated that if a batsman stepped out of the boundary rope after being given out, the decision would not be reversed. However, in October 2017, the MCC altered their playing rules slightly governing the status of batsmen "leaving the wicket under a misapprehension". Law 31.7 of the playing conditions stated, “An umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batsman, not having been given out, has left the wicket under a misapprehension of being out. The umpire intervening shall call and signal Dead ball to prevent any further action by the fielding side and shall recall the batsman. A batsman may be recalled at any time up to the instant when the ball comes into play for the next delivery unless it is the final wicket of the innings, in which case it should be up to the instant when the umpires leave the field.”
Stokes made 79 and shared a partnership of 125 with Jos Buttler (67) as England reached 277 with Kemar Roach taking 4/48. However, Mark Wood, bowling with pace and accuracy in excess of 95 mph, took his maiden five-wicket haul and his 5/41 helped England take a 123-run lead.
Speaking about the decision to call him back after the end of the day’s play, Stokes said he was totally taken by surprise and hailed the use of technology in the game. “I've never been in the changing room and called out to bat again, that is a first for me and it's probably something that they need to get control of. I don't think in international cricket you should be walking off and being in the changing rooms and then being back out there two minutes later. I was just sat in my chair with my pads on and then I thought someone had got out because of all the shouting, but then the shout was 'no-ball and you're in' so just bizarre. I just had to get myself back into the right frame of mind out there. I had to try and let it go and make sure I was not out at the end of the day,” Stokes said.