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Monday, August 1, 2011

Ian Ronald Bell runs, out of crease, given OUT BUT had to be recalled !!!

It was test no. 874 – a good 31 years ago – England were tottering at 58/5 – Gooch, Larkins, Gower, Boycott, Brearly were all back – a few runs after Bob Taylor was given out caught behind……………………….  the rest is history.

Cricket is a gentleman’s game – that is what they call it…   Courtney Walsh of the West Indies famously refused to mankad last man Saleem Jaffar of Pakistan for backing up too far in a group match in the 1987 World Cup, but let him off with a warning. Pakistan went on to win the match while the defeat cost the West Indies a place in the semi-final.  Sportsmanship lifts the spirits of the game and the fair play attracts more fans to the game upholding the dignity of the game  - don’t get carried away – it has always to be one sided – never ethically fair – while the Asian teams are expected to give up everything in guise, England, Australia, Newzealand will do everything for winning – for them ‘winning is the only thing’
At Trentbridge, Stuard Broad is credited with a hat-trick.  He bowled extremely well but yesterday Harbhajan had a big deflection off the first ball he faced – gentle sides would not even have appealed.  Broad and Prior and rest went on appeal – Marais Erasmus from South Africa without battling an eye lid gave Harbhajan out – quite unbelievable.  Bhaji had no option but to walk to the pavilion.  A big howler – another time Indians at the receiving end.  Nasser Hussain and British press went gaga harping that Indians were not in favour of DRS.

In this year itself on 28th Feb 11 in the 11th match Group B – India Vs. England – Ian Bell enjoyed the reprieve.  It was the 25th over when  Yuvi struck Bell who had pitched his leg well forward for a paddle – Billy Bowden turned down the appeal.  Dhoni went in for review.  The TV replays showed that it was not a no ball, was in line of the stumps and would have struck the middle of the stumps.  Crowd roared and Bell started trudging back.  He was only 17.  When everyone believed out, the third umpire after watching things on a slow motion ruled Bell not out.   It was 2.5M rule i.e., that if a 'not out' decision is being reviewed and the distance from impact to the stumps is greater than 2.5m then the technology will not be believed to be certain.    Bell went on to make another half century and spoil Indian’s party.
You need not travel so much back.  Yesterday when Laxman was not given out  - English team displayed tantrums and British Press criticized that hotspot is not good in picking up faint edges. Stuard Broad reportedly went to check the bat of Laxman for traces of Vaseline.  Well, Vaseline is another controversy perhaps one of the first publicized instance of doctoring the ball – the left arm pacer John Lever during the tour in 1977 used hair lotion for keeping the shine and perhaps enabling more swing.  Whether his magical figures of 7 for 46 were aided by this could never be proved, but whether he played by the spirit of the game does not require any analysis at all.  Years later Mike Selvey wrote that Willis and Lever were profusely sweating and physio Bernard Thomas used the idea which was used by Boxers for channeling sweat by smearing Vaseline on the eye brow.  Whether it really does and if so, is it still being used by the English bowlers ???
At Trentbridge on the 3rd day of play (31st July 2011) it was close to tea and the ground was filled with English supporters.    Bell clearly clearly was attempting to steal a run as it was not sure whether the ball had touched the ropes.  Bell scampered for the final run, hesitated, nonstriker was not interested and when the throw homed in, Bell was miles away towards the bowling end.  Dhoni collected the ball, whipped off the bails and there cannot be anything else than a Run Out.  Bell was in no mood to accept the decision, this time blaming the Umpire and the English batsmen walked out which again is a violation of the spirits of the game.  Indian team was booed.

It was the last ball of the 65th over,  Ishant was bowling faster – Morgan flicked the delivery to deep square – Praveenkumar made an ungainly attempt at saving the ball – he did succeed in preventing it from touching the rope.  The batsmen assumed it was four – still hesitantly Bell attempted another run – Morgan was not interested.  Throw homed in, found Bell yards away – Abhinav Mukund collected the throw, off came the bails – Indians went on appeal and the Umpires gave Bell out. There were replays and the board flashed Bell out.  The famous English crowd which repeatedly had been hailed by their own press as knowledgeable but always displays partisan attitude jeered at the Indians.  We have been told all along that the decision of the Umpire is to be accepted !! Bell went to the fourth Umpire Tim Robinson stating that he had heard the Umpires calling ‘over’.   There are also reports that Strauss and Flower went to Indian dressing room at tea asking Dhoni whether he would withdraw his appeal.

The rules of cricket read thus :   A batsman is out Run out if at any time while the ball is in play no part of his bat or person is grounded behind the popping crease and his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.

There may not be a direct comparable incident and there is no necessity of one. In a One dayer Vettori recalled Paul Collingwood after he had been given out of the crease.  In 2006, Kiwis ran out Muralidharan – Murali completed a single which gave Kumara Sangakkara his century – he naively turned back and came down to greet Sanga for his century – the ball had not been dead – Brendon McCullum whipped off the bails, appealed and Murali was given out.  Sanga was left stranded and Kiwis won that First test at Christchurch.  The Newzealand captain Stephen Fleming stated that he had no regrets about the controversial dismissal, saying Muralitharan made a mistake and paid the price.  McCullum was unrepentant about the dismissal, saying a player as experienced as Muralitharan should know better.  The dismissal stunned the Sri Lankans, who considered it was not in keeping with the true spirit of the competition.  That was not a loner – in Aug  2005, during the second Test against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo, McCullum ran out the last man, Chris Mpofu, after the batsman turned around after a single had been taken and walked down the pitch to congratulate Blessing Mahwire, who had just crossed fifty for the first time at the international level.  McCullum took the throw from the deep and whipped off the bails, leaving Mpofu in shock.

Now where was the question of Dhoni recalling his appeal – the  TV footage clearly reveals that Morgan raising his hand – a clear ‘no’ to a run – Bell keeps running – a legal run out and why should Indians and Dhoni  be blamed for this act ?   partly because he is an Indian. In that Golden jubilee test at Mumbai, the only one to be captained by Gundappa Vishwanath,  who was always known for his innate sense of fair play, recalled Bob Taylor after he was given out caught behind but said that he had not touched the ball.  That turned out to be Vishy’s only one at the helm and Indians lost that Test by a huge margin.  There was no hotspot, match referee, third, fourth umpire those days…..
Bert Olfield struck and skull fractured

When it comes to playing by the spirit of the game, England has a hoary past.  It is the same England who denied a runner and has now brought in a rule that there would be no runner….   It is this Nation which invented bodyline but christened it as fast leg theory bowling,  a cricketing tactic devised by the English cricket team for their 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia, specifically to combat the extraordinary batting skill of Australia's Don Bradman. A bodyline delivery was one where the cricket ball was pitched short so as to rise towards the body of the batsman on the line of the leg stump, in the hope of creating leg-side deflections that could be caught by one of several fielders in the quadrant of the field behind square leg. This was considered by many to be intimidatory and physically threatening, to the point of being unfair in a game once supposed to have gentlemanly traditions.  When they ruled the roost, they could bring in a rule that there can only be a single bouncer in an over, which clipped the teeth of the West Indies attack, which they were never able to cope up in the halcyon days of Windies.  Last year at this very venue  was the jelly bean incident – another notorious act by the British..

England has complete record and their archives of past series is to be revered.  Let them turn the pages of almanac to read about the first Test played at Wankhede Statdium in Nov 1981 – Test No. 911 – a bitter one as India won by 138 runs.  Krishnamachari Srikkanth made his debut – out for a duck in the first innings.  In the second essay, he was extremely nervy and he had the peculiar habit of walking towards the square leg umpire after every delivery.  He fended one towards the slip and took his casual walks – not attempting a run but out of the crease.  John Emburey at the slips threw the wickets down and the whole England team celebrated !  Srikkanth was declared run out.   That day, it was well within the spirits of the game – Gavaskar openly admonished Srikkanth and there was the remorseless remark that this boy should learn that this is not ‘juhu beach and he is not going for a walking’ !
cheeka caught outside the crease

MS Dhoni has character, he is a tall leader.  He courageously recalled his decision, displaying greatness, strength of character, audacious courage, braveness BUT are the Englishmen right ??    Now after this incident, there has been generous  appreciation from the ECB chief executive David Collier and the ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, both of whom acknowledged the appeal for the run-out was a valid one. "The withdrawal of a valid appeal at the tea interval was made in the spirit of cricket by the India team and demonstrates the true spirit in which the game of cricket should be played and the excellent relationship between the ECB and BCCI," Collier said in a statement. "On behalf of the ECB I wish to express the England and Wales Cricket Board's grateful thanks the BCCI and the India team."

Bell changed his version of hearing the Umpire and et al and spoke of him being naïve.  Well an Englishman can afford to be naïve after 66 tests and more than 100 one dayers.  Bell could cite genuine misapprehension in his favour, but upon reflection, he ought to know it was a school-boy error, and even though the umpires asked the Indian team to reconsider the appeal, he was given out legitimately. There were three former England captains on air, and they had no doubt that England would have done the same in similar circumstances. Bell was asked whether England would have taken a similar decision to India's, recalling a dismissed batsman, and said: "It's difficult to say. I think the right decision was made. We have been in a position before where something happened in an ODI, and I think we all put our hands up and made the wrong decision."  Clever words from naïve batsman without even trying to put in words that they would do a similar thing.

Cricket is still a gentleman’s game and the spirits of the game are to be respected more  !! [always by few Teams]

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

1 comment:

  1. cheeka out of the crease is too captivating - Narayan