Thursday, August 4, 2011

In the Spirit of Cricket

‘Yeah mate, that looks four I tell ya; let’s get off and grab our cup of tea!’

It did not for once ring a ‘Bell’ to Mr Ian that you cannot take anything for granted until a delivery is legally dead in cricket. After having played close to 200 international games (and may be 500 including first class), you call it a ‘novice’ mistake; excellent!

There is little doubt that he was out, technically, but Ian Bell couldn’t believe that he was out in actuality. He did start off with the fourth run when he looked and jogged towards the non-strikers end, and then assumed its four or felt ‘lets go take tea anyways’, just continued to walk off.

Face it, what he did was nothing short of foolishness, half the English commentators and former players believed that he was out and that’s how it should stay. After all, you cannot have room for foolishness in professional sport. And if it was allowed, then players like Sourav Ganguly, who rarely dragged is bat into the crease while running, should have been allowed to make a lot more runs in his career.

India on the other hand has been victim of such foolishness and unsporting behaviour for a better part of their cricketing career. Not wasting time on a very elaborate list, the most recent one was Laxman’s dismissal when get got stumped off Chanderpaul in the Test series against the West Indies. A quick flashback – Laxman played and missed and was well within the crease but very unknowingly had his backfoot in the air for a fraction – and viola – he was gone and it stayed that way!

No spirit of cricket came in there or the many instances when batsmen collided with bowlers, didn’t make it to the crease and got run out. There have been exceptions when Hansie Cronje of South Africa reversed his decision, but there may have been some other reasons behind it.

It was very surprising that Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower actually requested Dhoni for a reconsideration. What Dhoni and India did was sporting and simply best to avoid further controversies. Peer pressure or gut feel, we wouldn’t know.

Wonder what the outcome would be if the same incident happened but instead of Bell, it was Tendulkar or Dravid who were on the receiving end – would Strauss be that generous? Or what would the reaction be, if the same Bell incident happened but the venue was in India – would Dhoni have still reversed his decision?

That’s why for me, it is just inconsistent and situational. The only undoubted spirit in cricket that always exists is the alcohol in the English stands!

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