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Saturday, November 17, 2012

the unsporting appeal of Jonathan Trott - at Motera

For long, the sport has been called Gentlemen’s game – the Britishers take pride that it originated and codified by them. Quite often the Asians have been derided for not conforming to the ethical standards – though Aussies would always exhibit arrogant behavior on and off the field.

At Motera,  the act of England's Jonathan Trott was very much against the acceptable standards, which made Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar lash out at sating that he  "breached the spirit of cricket" by refusing to acknowledge that he had not cleanly taken a catch on the opening day of the first Test. Fielding at first slip on day 1, when India was making merry, Trott dived for an edge off Virat Kohli and claimed having taken it cleanly, forgetting that there are TV cameras which would show the real position to the World.  – the TV replays convincingly showed that he had spilled it but claimed to have taken it.
Gavaskar recalled a similar incident that had taken place in the past, during a match between England and Pakistan.  He recalled that English media condemned the Paki wicket keeper at that time.   Gavaskar logically explains further stating -  "If he (Trott) had said he didn't know what had happened, it would have been a different situation. But he was actually accepting high-fives from the bowler, the fielders and that means he was quite sure that it was a catch."

The drama occurred at Motera in the post-tea session  with India at 259 for 3 – Kohli who had only spent few minutes tried cutting Swann but edged where Trott dived for the rebounce from his forearm, dropped it dead but still appealed – the event forced the  on-field umpires to refer the matter to third umpire Sudhir Asnani; and  TV replays clearly showed that the ball spilled out of his hand as he dived backward and his body covered the ball before he scooped it up and appealed.

Had it been a Pak or Lankan player with an English player being the Match referee, sure action would be taken against the errant player – here the man who erred is an English player and what action  match referee Roshan Mahanama takes  remains to be seen. 

Remember in Jan 2008 at Sydney, India lost the match – more than a couple of umpiring errors and some controversies did contribute to hasten  the end result in that match.  Sourav Ganguly was sore on that occasion and commented that umpire Mark Benson should have consulted Steve Bucknor in adjudicating on the controversial catch which led to his dismissal in the second innings of the second Test.  Batting on 51, Ganguly had edged Brett Lee low to Michael Clarke at second slip who immediately claimed the catch and the Australians celebrated before awaiting the umpire's decision. Ganguly, convinced that the catch hadn't carried, waited at the crease. Benson opted not to consult Bucknor at square leg and instead took Ricky Ponting's word that the catch was legitimate.  It was among several decisions that went against India through the Test and played a big part in their defeat. But Ganguly was willing to shrug off the disappointment and said that the playing conditions need to be respected if agreed upon before the series.

There were tantrums as usual in that match - Andrew Symonds turned in disgust and threw darts with his eyes at Steve Bucknor.  He was subsequently helped with some rank bad decisions.   Ponting kept muttering and appealing to everything and wanted the Umpires to believe his words than check with 3rd Umpire.  Ponting was reprieved and Symonds also received bounty of decisions in his favour.  Rahul Dravid had the raw edge – was given caught at the wicket when ball clearly touched the pad enroute to keeper’s gloves.   one of the columnists wrote that the  noise of Symonds' nick on 31 was so loud it could have carried to the shoppers in nearby Oxford Street still that was not heard by the Umpire.  Even in earlier times, many have expressed that there is more than benefit of doubt favouring the home team in Australia.  Clarke who wanted his voice to be heard, had stayed put after edging the ball to 1st slip.    Same Michael Clarke claimed low catch off Sourav’s bat and Ponting putting his finger up suggested, he had caught it. 

Australians would swear and shout at opponents; they would want others to follow the spirit of the game but to them ‘playing hard’ means resorting to anything to win !.   When Sachin struggled with something in his eyes, the bowler M Clarke yelled ‘mate, it is time’ gesticulating with hands, getting annoyed with the delay.  For these acts, any Asian cricketer would have been fleeced at least 50% match fees besides being called unsportive.  The Aussies are clearly above board all these.

Ian Jonathan Leonard Trott is a South African-born England Test cricketer. He has played in 34 Tests and 54 one dayers

with regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Nov. 2012

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