ICC introduced some new rules that were brought into effect on 28th September, 2017.
While there were many new rules and modifications that were introduced, which you can read here, one you won't find in there is the one regarding catches that are taken near the boundary ropes.
It basically states that the last point of contact with the ground should be inside the rope for the catch to be deemed legal.
Mostly, that is the case. Even when fielders throw balls from outside the boundary, they are either in mid-air and someone else comes and catches it.
But there have also been catches like these:
It looks spectacular, doesn't it?
Glenn Maxwell, who has slammed this new rule, initially catches the ball from inside the boundary. He throws the ball before his feet hit the ground beyond the ropes. He again catches it mid-air and lands inside.
But his last point of contact with the ground was beyond the ropes.
Thus, this catch, which was earlier adjudged as out, will be declared a six instead as per the new rule. You would want this to be out just because of the amazing effort put in.
But there can be some confusion as well. Here's another one:
Again, he catches it mid-air and his feet were last outside the rope before he finally caught the ball and he landed inside after taking the catch.
But technically, he fumbles the ball and before he finally secures the ball, his last contact is inside. See what I meant by confusion?
Then there's this one:
Here he jumps from outside but before the ball lands in his hands, his left foot touches the ground inside the rope.
The man upstairs will probably give this out. Again, confusion. But then that's what third umpires are for and we too will soon get the hang of it.
I just hate to imagine how the fielder would feel if such a great effort would result in the batsman being given not out.
But there will be some catches where there will be no doubt. Just like this one from Adam Voges:
Catches like these were few at one point of time. But with fitter and better athletes in the game nowadays, the frequency has increased. This might also mean that there will be a lot of referrals.
Just for fun, enjoy this catch by David Hussey. He cuts it really close. Which light do you reckon would've gone up?
While there still will be amazing catches, maybe the time for some of these 'outstanding' ones has come to an end.