Controversy February 2, 2008

Ponting and the 1950s

The leeway traditionally granted to certain kinds of cricketing deception is threatened by the camera's unblinking gaze
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I met Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi recently at an NDTV India talk show called Muqabla (contest). Before the studio discussion, talk veered to Ricky Ponting's reply to Neil Harvey's withering condemnation of Australian sledging. Ponting had argued that the team's critics and, by implication, their notions of good cricketing behaviour, were stuck in the 1950s, i.e a time when cricket wasn't the professional sport it is today. Pataudi didn't see how that explained anything. "I learnt my cricket in the hardest school there was—at least at the time—the county game. Most of the people I played with were professionals, people who played for a pretty meagre living. Nearly everyone walked, and hardly anyone sledged. There were always one or two people who didn't walk, but they were marked out as cheats."

"There was the one time that I didn't walk," he said, grinning. "We were playing West Zone in the Duleep Trophy and the captain told us not to because the chaps on the other side didn't. So I stood my ground, but that was the only time." Who was the captain? I forgot to ask him. It must have been his Hyderabad skipper, ML Jaisimha.

During the show, a young man in the audience asked if it wasn't natural to retaliate if you were provoked as Harbhajan had been by Symonds. Wasn't it important to speak up, to teach your tormentors a lesson? "A lesson?" asked Pataudi. "Wasn't Harbhajan fined fifty percent of his match fees? You teach someone a lesson when the other man loses his match fees." The studio audience laughed and clapped. He thought Kumble was the only one who had emerged from the controversy with any grace. "He led India to a win in the Perth Test. That was the best possible answer to Sydney, to win on the field of play." Loud applause. Pataudi has a relaxed, ironical manner that makes cricketing chauvinism seem vaguely absurd.

I went up to Syed Kirmani to shake his hand. He was the best Indian wicketkeeper ever and the last one to keep his mouth shut behind the stumps. After him Nayan Mongia inaugurated the age of the cheerleader keeper. Now it's mandatory for a ‘keeper to chirp and yap and appeal non-stop, allegedly to keep his team's spirits up. "After I had played more than eighty Tests, my captain (who shall remain un-named) asked me to appeal more aggressively and frequently. He suggested I imitated another, younger keeper," Kirmani said.

Kirmani refused to name names even off the show, but the the fact that this happened to him late in his career, gives us a clue. I suspect the keeper he was urged to emulate was the young Sadanand Visvanath who was part of the one-day team that won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia in 1985. The way Kirmani told it, he asked his captain with awful calm if he (the captain) had ever felt a lack of support behind the stumps in the dozens of Tests they had played together. If he hadn't, why was he urging him to make dishonest appeals in the autumn of his career? Resounding applause followed this rhetorical flourish.

He told another story of the time he toured Australia. Bob Simpson was the Australian captain. Kirmani thought the umpires in Australia were one-eyed. He'd appeal for an catch, be turned out and Simpson (who was batting) would turn and swear at him. After this happened a few times, Kirmani made his move. He made sure, in between overs, that the umpire was in earshot and confronted Simpson. He began by saying that Simpson was a great man and that he, Kirmani, was a novice nobody so the swearing made no difference to him. On the other hand, being sworn at by a nobody ought to make a difference to someone of Simpson's standing. So Kirmani translated all the desi abuse he knew into English and gave Simpson a earful. The story didn't end there. In a dinner party after the match, Kirmani was talking to Sir Donald Bradman and his wife (or begum as Kirmani put it) when Bob Simpson came up to him and apologized. It's a lovely story and, oddly enough, Simpson comes out of it well: I can think of many senior Indian cricketers who wouldn't have had the grace to acknowledge that they were out of line.

I asked Kirmani and Pataudi when not walking became the rule in Indian cricket. Pataudi was categorical that every batsman in the teams he captained, walked. Both of them thought that the shift came in the Seventies. That seemed about right, anecdotally. I remember Gundappa Vishwanath (debut 1969 with Pataudi as captain) always walked, but Sunil Gavaskar (debut 1971 with Ajit Wadekar as captain) didn't.

There's been a lot of talk about the ethics of not walking, especially after the Sydney Test. Harsha Bhogle raised an interesting question. How could Ponting campaign for the fielder's word to be taken on trust in the matter of a catch, when the same player in his capacity as a batsman was willing to stand his ground knowing he had nicked the ball and been caught. Surely, as Harsha suggested, the player ought to assist the umpire in both cases if he was to remain credible. Ian Chappell (and subsequently, some Australian cricket writers) made the reasonable point that a batsman was merely exercising the accused person's time-honoured legal right not to incriminate himself. The fielder, on the other hand, had the greater responsibility, because claiming a dodgy catch was like perjuring yourself, something that could be severely punished. So it was reasonable to take the fielder's word on trust because the fielder knew that if he was found to have betrayed that trust, sanctions would follow.

But the batsman's right to remain silent is based on the presumption of innocence and that presumption is hard to sustain the presence of cameras. Every time you nick the ball and don't walk, the camera is likely to show you taking advantage of human fallibility. The procedures of law are created in large part to enshrine the benefit of doubt because judges and lawyers know that in a court of law you can't have God as a witness. But today, on a cricket pitch, you can and you do. The television camera's omniscience is beginning to create a crisis for the hard men who refuse to walk.

Behaviour once seen as merely tough or hard-bitten becomes harder to justify when the camera picks up the nick: witness the revulsion that followed Symonds' frank acknowledgement that he had been caught but not given out early in his innings in Sydney. The leeway traditionally granted to certain kinds of cricketing deception is threatened by the camera's unblinking gaze. To his great credit, Adam Gilchrist instinctively understood that batsmen couldn't brazen it out any more and led by example. It's about time that his peers, Australians, Indians and the rest, followed suit. For Pataudi and Kirmani, walking was a point of honour; for cricketers in the age of the camera, it ought to be an act of self-preservation.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jit Kundi on March 13, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    I think this was arguably Indias most significant win actually. Australia are now officially the best team ever. For the 1st time theyr under pressure from an up and coming team challenging thier dominance post mcgrath/warne era.India look like a team who are more than challenging Australia, theyr getting better.The Aussies theyre getting older.All of a sudden India look like they can become the best cricket team in world cricket in BOTH forms of the game. When has this been the case ever before in Indias history? Never...

  • Jit Kundi on March 13, 2008, 14:57 GMT

    I think this was arguably Indias most significant win actually. Australia are now officially the best ODI team ever- 4 world cup including last 2 where theyve not lost a single game. They have dominated for long long periods. For the 1st time theyr under pressure from an up and coming team challenging thier dominance post mcgrath/warne era. Whats happend here is throughout this tour India look like a team who are more than challenging Australia, theyr getting better. For the Aussies theyre getting older and the standards arent as good as say 4 years ago. All of a sudden India look like they can become the best cricket team in world cricket in BOTH forms of the game. When has this been the case ever before in Indias history? Never...

  • Mawali on March 4, 2008, 17:53 GMT

    Kudos to the Indian team for a superb win. This wrestling series disguised as a criket series speaks volumes of the need to rid this non-contact game of the extra's that don't belong. Australia, learnt over a decade ago that in order for them to win and compete with the best from around the world they would have to bring in their thug mentality and tactics into a so called "gentleman's game". Shame on ICC and its cronies like Malcolm Speed for bringing shame to the game and allowing Australia free reign at it terror tactics. In the end its befitting that India finsihed what the Australians started. Kudos also to the Lankans for beating the bullies in their own backyard. If Australia had any sense of honor left in them they would NOT cancel their scheduled trip to Pakistan. It would be good for cricket not mention honor a prior commitment. It may just save Paksitan cricket from the brink of extinction. PCB and Naseem Ashraf are doing their best just to make sure that happens.

  • Arjun Agarwal on March 4, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    How about another write up Mukul? It's been a while - On Australia's arrogance or on India's historic victory? Or on Tendulkar's Australian tour?

  • Terry Gonsalves on February 27, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    Mukul, first of all congratulations for some great articles. I am requesting that you initiate a blog on the despicible behaviour of this Australian team. On, second thought what more is their to say or expect? Symonds has continued to provoke and gets away unpunished. Hayden, that un-cannonized patron saint of this team calls Harbajan an "obnoxious weed". The best Australian "weeders" alias "goondas" were Darren Lehman and his buddy (forget his name), could not be noteworthy, best forgotten. Then comes the defence of the teams behaviour from none other than Neilsen, their coach.Now, the likes of this Aussie element are recruited by the IPL and ICL for large sums of money. What kind of role models do the youth of the world and especially India need? Surely, not this Aussie team!! Is this sport? If it is then maybe we should put this team in an amphitheatre and release whatever is left of India's lions to do battle with them. Intelligent humans do not have to put up with animals.

  • sukh on February 27, 2008, 1:38 GMT

    i am missing your flip flop comments write something my friend

  • sm on February 25, 2008, 18:55 GMT

    Dickie Bird mentioned [in his autobiography?] that Eddie Barlow, the legendary South African told him that while he would never walk, he would also never complain about any incorrect decision he received. That seems eminently fair to me.

    Bird himself mentioned that what troubled him were not the non-walkers, but rather the "strategic walkers": those who would walk after a hundred but not if they were on zero etc.

    Personally, I'd say don't walk. But then, like Barlow, don't complain. If you want to walk, that's your outlook: just don't expect everyone else to adopt it. Not walking [the way Barlow practiced it] is definitely morally superior to "strategic" walking, and I would argue, as ethical as walking. It is a stance which accepts the possibility of human error in umpire decision making and agrees to live with the consequences of such errors.

    And since Barlow played from the sixties to the early eighties, I am not sure that I buy Pataudi's claim that "almost everyone walked" in county matches.

  • cheeky on February 17, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    not walking is cheating....If you have the technology why not use it to call the batsmen back if he's not out or send him in the hut if he is.-recent post Sachin Tendulkar hit one right of the edge and didn't move a muscle and was incredulously given not out...... by the flavour of some posts some Indians would call him a cheat... or wouldn't they.....would other factors now come into play as to whether someone is a cheat...cloudy issue...

  • Philip John Joseph on February 17, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    Ricky Ponting has effectively admitted that Bradman as a batsman was a joke because as Ponting has said himself, the modern era of cricket represents professional cricket while Bradman's era represents amateur and schoolboy cricket. Thank you Ponting for admitting that Bradman was a joke.

  • Philip John Joseph on February 16, 2008, 23:48 GMT

    The solution is to level the playing field by banning walking and fining anyone who attempts to walk before the umpire renders his decision. Furthermore, this silly nonsense about playing the game the MCC way must be thrown into the gutter and maximum use of video and other electronic assistance must be deployed to ensure that incompetent and/or racist umpires do not destroy the game. Furthermore, umpires should be evaluated in percentage terms for the quality of their decisions, versus the electronic evidence, and the bad ones should be booted out of the game, or at the very least demoted to lower levels of the game where they can try and get it right for a change. Enough of this nonsense that the umpires decision is final. If he get's it wrong, he must pay the price for his incompetence. No-one is above the law, not even the umpires.

  • Jit Kundi on March 13, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    I think this was arguably Indias most significant win actually. Australia are now officially the best team ever. For the 1st time theyr under pressure from an up and coming team challenging thier dominance post mcgrath/warne era.India look like a team who are more than challenging Australia, theyr getting better.The Aussies theyre getting older.All of a sudden India look like they can become the best cricket team in world cricket in BOTH forms of the game. When has this been the case ever before in Indias history? Never...

  • Jit Kundi on March 13, 2008, 14:57 GMT

    I think this was arguably Indias most significant win actually. Australia are now officially the best ODI team ever- 4 world cup including last 2 where theyve not lost a single game. They have dominated for long long periods. For the 1st time theyr under pressure from an up and coming team challenging thier dominance post mcgrath/warne era. Whats happend here is throughout this tour India look like a team who are more than challenging Australia, theyr getting better. For the Aussies theyre getting older and the standards arent as good as say 4 years ago. All of a sudden India look like they can become the best cricket team in world cricket in BOTH forms of the game. When has this been the case ever before in Indias history? Never...

  • Mawali on March 4, 2008, 17:53 GMT

    Kudos to the Indian team for a superb win. This wrestling series disguised as a criket series speaks volumes of the need to rid this non-contact game of the extra's that don't belong. Australia, learnt over a decade ago that in order for them to win and compete with the best from around the world they would have to bring in their thug mentality and tactics into a so called "gentleman's game". Shame on ICC and its cronies like Malcolm Speed for bringing shame to the game and allowing Australia free reign at it terror tactics. In the end its befitting that India finsihed what the Australians started. Kudos also to the Lankans for beating the bullies in their own backyard. If Australia had any sense of honor left in them they would NOT cancel their scheduled trip to Pakistan. It would be good for cricket not mention honor a prior commitment. It may just save Paksitan cricket from the brink of extinction. PCB and Naseem Ashraf are doing their best just to make sure that happens.

  • Arjun Agarwal on March 4, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    How about another write up Mukul? It's been a while - On Australia's arrogance or on India's historic victory? Or on Tendulkar's Australian tour?

  • Terry Gonsalves on February 27, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    Mukul, first of all congratulations for some great articles. I am requesting that you initiate a blog on the despicible behaviour of this Australian team. On, second thought what more is their to say or expect? Symonds has continued to provoke and gets away unpunished. Hayden, that un-cannonized patron saint of this team calls Harbajan an "obnoxious weed". The best Australian "weeders" alias "goondas" were Darren Lehman and his buddy (forget his name), could not be noteworthy, best forgotten. Then comes the defence of the teams behaviour from none other than Neilsen, their coach.Now, the likes of this Aussie element are recruited by the IPL and ICL for large sums of money. What kind of role models do the youth of the world and especially India need? Surely, not this Aussie team!! Is this sport? If it is then maybe we should put this team in an amphitheatre and release whatever is left of India's lions to do battle with them. Intelligent humans do not have to put up with animals.

  • sukh on February 27, 2008, 1:38 GMT

    i am missing your flip flop comments write something my friend

  • sm on February 25, 2008, 18:55 GMT

    Dickie Bird mentioned [in his autobiography?] that Eddie Barlow, the legendary South African told him that while he would never walk, he would also never complain about any incorrect decision he received. That seems eminently fair to me.

    Bird himself mentioned that what troubled him were not the non-walkers, but rather the "strategic walkers": those who would walk after a hundred but not if they were on zero etc.

    Personally, I'd say don't walk. But then, like Barlow, don't complain. If you want to walk, that's your outlook: just don't expect everyone else to adopt it. Not walking [the way Barlow practiced it] is definitely morally superior to "strategic" walking, and I would argue, as ethical as walking. It is a stance which accepts the possibility of human error in umpire decision making and agrees to live with the consequences of such errors.

    And since Barlow played from the sixties to the early eighties, I am not sure that I buy Pataudi's claim that "almost everyone walked" in county matches.

  • cheeky on February 17, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    not walking is cheating....If you have the technology why not use it to call the batsmen back if he's not out or send him in the hut if he is.-recent post Sachin Tendulkar hit one right of the edge and didn't move a muscle and was incredulously given not out...... by the flavour of some posts some Indians would call him a cheat... or wouldn't they.....would other factors now come into play as to whether someone is a cheat...cloudy issue...

  • Philip John Joseph on February 17, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    Ricky Ponting has effectively admitted that Bradman as a batsman was a joke because as Ponting has said himself, the modern era of cricket represents professional cricket while Bradman's era represents amateur and schoolboy cricket. Thank you Ponting for admitting that Bradman was a joke.

  • Philip John Joseph on February 16, 2008, 23:48 GMT

    The solution is to level the playing field by banning walking and fining anyone who attempts to walk before the umpire renders his decision. Furthermore, this silly nonsense about playing the game the MCC way must be thrown into the gutter and maximum use of video and other electronic assistance must be deployed to ensure that incompetent and/or racist umpires do not destroy the game. Furthermore, umpires should be evaluated in percentage terms for the quality of their decisions, versus the electronic evidence, and the bad ones should be booted out of the game, or at the very least demoted to lower levels of the game where they can try and get it right for a change. Enough of this nonsense that the umpires decision is final. If he get's it wrong, he must pay the price for his incompetence. No-one is above the law, not even the umpires.

  • bryan on February 14, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    It seems like ponting's parents taught him the cheating is ok in order to win in life. And he plays with that belief and his other team-mates also seem to agree with it. It is sad that a person who should be responsible to show good character as he is in the lime-light resorts to cheating and blatantly oks that. I agree with Peter Roebock, Ponting should be sacked and also along with him those who agree with this kind of mindset, be it Australian, Indian or any other country's player. Also it is very clear that bucknor enjoys giving wrong decisions against indian players and especially Tendulkar. I am convinced that CA is paying him and other Umpires to give favorable decisions to the Aussies. That is not the only thing, I am sure he has an agenda against Tendulkar. Which is give him out and spoil his chances of scoring 100's and more runs so that Brian Lara can stay ahead of Tendulkar in runs scored and catch up with as many centuries as Tendulkar.

  • bryan on February 14, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    It seems like ponting's parents taught him the cheating is ok in order to win in life. And he plays with that belief and his other team-mates also seem to agree with it. It is sad that a person who should be responsible to show good character as he is in the lime-light resorts to cheating and blatantly oks that. I agree with Peter Roebock, Ponting should be sacked and also along with him those who agree with this kind of mindset, be it Australian, Indian or any other country's player. Also it is very clear that bucknor enjoys giving wrong decisions against indian players and especially Tendulkar. I am convinced that CA is paying him and other Umpires to give favorable decisions to the Aussies. That is not the only thing, I am sure he has an agenda against Tendulkar. Which is give him out and spoil his chances of scoring 100's and more runs so that Brian Lara can stay ahead of Tendulkar in runs scored and catch up with as many centuries as Tendulkar.

  • Rahul on February 12, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    I find it interesting to note that some posters are ok with India's disgraceful attitude in the series and dont care about it as long as an aussie supporter admitted that australia's behaviour was disgraceful. This stinks of hypocrisy and shows how self pitying Indians can be. Also, its not ok for a player to admit in a press coference that he had nicked the ball and was out, but if you are an indian then its ok to admit the same in a presentation cermony (Murali Karthik after the Mumbai ODI). The indians like to have the holier than thou attitude and take moral high grounds, without tackling the core of the issue. Harbhajan was fined for obscene language and all indians were happy. I wonder why the indians did not fight to get the boorish aussies indicted. Simple reason, a racial abuse by harbhajan singh was changed to use of obscene language and the indians did not have to deal with the complex issue of understanding racial abuse and accept their mistake.

  • mick on February 12, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    With all the talk of australian arrogance i find it interesting that recent isolated victories by india have led to somewhat 'outward' shall we say comments from indian players and supporters alike. God forbid if they were to experience a fraction of the success the australian side has in the part 15 years. The latest loss to sri lanka in canberra should serve as a timely reminder that succes is not built on the occasional victory but on year after year of dominant performance.

  • ashish on February 11, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    What was the article we are discussing about........was it Cricket vs Football????????

  • waterbuffalo on February 8, 2008, 16:27 GMT

    To even entertain the notion that the wicket-keeper of the Australian team is an honest man is to live in a world of delusion. This is a man whose reputation was made in a Test Match in Hobart when his partner at the other end nicked a ball and was given not out by an Australian umpire. The Batsman was Justin Langer and the accomplice was Adam Gilchrist. Australia robbed Pakistan , and Mr. Gilchrist never said a word. Australians are cheats(how do you think neutral umpires about?) and Gilchrist, as wicket-keeper was probably the biggest cheat of all. Grow up, wake up and stop sucking up to the Aussies, please.

  • Aditya Mookerjee on February 8, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    The Nawab of Pataudi played his cricket during times, which were perceived to be easier than the present. Then, it was acceptable to be good, while now, it is equally acceptable to have a negative self portrait, in the eyes of others. Such a person is deemed to have a 'charmed' life. I would refer anyone to Shane Warne, as an example. In the times of Mr Pataudi's playing days, it was hip to be genteel, while In the times of The 'Don', it was hip to be a gentleman. I am an admirer of Mr Pataudi, and Sachin Tendulkar, because they exhibit a resolve, over being hip, and that is why they are role models. Compared to now, I always felt that the times of Mr Gavaskar, were easier, but then, they played without helmets. Then, there may have been sledging, but the players were not openly hostile, to the opposing team. David Gower and Kapil Dev were the epitome of charm, and ease, as captains of their respective nations, during India's '86 tour to England.

  • Sanjeev on February 7, 2008, 21:39 GMT

    Today's news that the Premier League is being taken around the world is stunning. Watching Manchester vs Liverpool in Bombay - a dream come true, maybe. Well I can't imagine even 5 people go watch Bombay play Karnatka in Italy or somewhere. Just shows how far behind my favourite sport, cricket is and will always be

  • Ghosh on February 7, 2008, 19:40 GMT

    @Madan, I am a die-hard football fan, but I llve golf too. In fact I have a lot of respect for golf. Contrary to most people's beliefs, it is more athletic than they think - you use every muscle in your body when you swing in golf. Its certainly better than cricket at any rate.

  • ashok on February 7, 2008, 19:26 GMT

    Madan, pls don't compare sports espically if one of them is cricket. We all love cricket but its only because we want India to win something ... anything. If "watching paint dry" was a world sport and India was the best at it, our favourite sport would be "watching paint dry", not cricket.

  • Ram on February 7, 2008, 19:23 GMT

    whover says tennis (let alone cricket) is better sport to watch than football is in my humble opinion, a dud. Nothing more to say

  • Soumyajit on February 7, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    Madan, I argue that you can compare two sports. Each sport has its own pros and cons, but although it is subjective, some sports are better qualified to be defined as a sport than other sports. Cricket is by no means athletic or "dynamic". I agree with the comment above that cricket is a static game - stand and strike, no movement at all. Now that does not mean I don't follow cricket I will continue to follow cricket forever, because India can only compete in this game. Therefore cricket is my favourite sport

  • Prabhu on February 7, 2008, 19:16 GMT

    Madan, In my opinion tennis has become quite boring recently, certainly not as exciting as La Liga or EPL. EPL continues to be rip-roaring fun week in week out. Having said that, even tennis is not as boring as cricket is - test or one day

  • Harichandra on February 7, 2008, 13:15 GMT

    Please note that Gilchrist is not the only walker and the players from other nations don't have to just follow him only. I don't know why people don't mention Brian Lara when it comes to walking. He was a walker in a team which loses almost all the matches and any chance of a win for his team relies on his individual score. It is a geater act for Lara to walk than for Gilchrist. It makes it even unthinkable when you see him getting given out caught in umpire error. Gilchrist, doesn't have to put up with those kind of outs because umpires just trust him and waits for him to walk. If he didn't walk, he wont be given out. Even the LBW's are given only when it is absolutely plumb. In a way, he does get benefits from his walking. Also, please note that Gilchrist claims catches which were not even close (Like the one against Dravid in Sydney test). However, I, still, do admire him for walking and for his immense talent as a batsman. But, please mention Lara- The king.

  • Sayeed on February 7, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    Well done MK.It's really sad to see the way cricketers behave today. I don't understand the Aussie logic about sledging! I think it has more to do from the background one comes from? I mean you don't really expect poetry from a pub bully do you? I don't mean any disrespect for Australian people here but they should seriously get a grip on this sledging issue? Maybe it has something to do with virulent nationalistic propaganda being churned out by the collective media which pushes players into a warlike mindset? My suggestion for those players itching for toughness and hardness should join the army. Maybe a tour to waziristan might mellow them down? Do we want these kind of role models for our youth? Cheers.

  • Sayeed on February 7, 2008, 13:03 GMT

    Well done MK.It's really sad to see the way cricketers behave today. I don't understand the Aussie logic about sledging! I think it has more to do from the background one comes from? I mean you don't really expect poetry from a pub bully do you? I don't mean any disrespect for Australian people here but they should seriously get a grip on this sledging issue? Maybe it has something to do with virulent nationalistic propaganda being churned out by the collective media which pushes players into a warlike mindset? My suggestion for those players itching for toughness and hardness should join the army. Maybe a tour to waziristan might mellow them down? Do we want these kind of role models for our youth? Cheers.

  • Vikas on February 7, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    Recent Cricket Rules - Whom do they favour ============================================ - Refer run outs to third umpires - Refer close boundary fieldings to third umpires - Can only be LBW if ball pitches inline and is going straight - Allow bouncers in one day - Non striker able to take start as soon as bowler in delivery stride

    Agreed that no one is stopping one from taking advantage of these rules but by the time you catch up a few more will be added to the list.

    On another point why is everyone happy to wait 3 mins for third umpire to see if it was 3 or 4, 4 or 6 while when it comes to looking at a dismissal suddenly we are out of time, potentially a incorrect dismissal has far serious impact on the outcome of the game than 1 run saved at boundary.

  • Vikas on February 7, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    I think batsmen should walk, assuming that you will get incorrect decisions from umpires is itself incorrect. If my house is robbed and police fail to catch the culprits then does it mean I am free to rob someone else ?

  • Albert on February 7, 2008, 11:05 GMT

    Firstly, I would like to say, it's all about winning in Australia, "Winners are grinners". Players from Australia are not going to walk because if they do they will not be playing for their country for very much longer, especially if those same players do not win games for Australia. I really don't know what all the fuss is about Gilchrist walking. Watching him interact with other Australian players, talk on television and recently giving Tony Greg a hard time, it is my strong belief, he made up his mind to walk for other than moral reasons. I believe he has thought long and hard about the monetary aspect of him being seen to be moral. Sponsors dream of athletes who not only win but show high ethical and moral values and that's what "Gilly" gives them. Playing for easily the strongest team on the planet for the last ten or so years and having already proved himself to be a match winner, he was in no position to loose. Good onya!

  • Madan on February 7, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    It is also worth pointing out that Nipun's comments - which started the comparison - didn't refer to football in general but what it has become and is becoming, on that I agree with him and with the introduction of leagues in cricket, we're probably going to see a decline in cricket too. Already, 07 World Cup semifinalist (both ODI and T20) New Zealand have lost more than half their side to retirements and ICL and are nowhere near as competitive as they once were.

  • Madan on February 7, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    Anup: football is the king of sports not just because it is popular but because it is a wonderful sport to watch, its a dynamic sport and so on.

    hmmm....basketball and hockey are arguably more dynamic.

    Tennis is arguably better to watch (just my opinion).

    If you compare two entirely different sports, you'll get several arguments for and against the same point, that is why it is not advisable to do so.

  • Madan on February 7, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    Manohar: I agree with nitin. Just ask somebody who follows more than 1 sport and they will tell you there is a difference in quality. Unfortunately generally speaking, Indians follow only cricket.

    I do, FYI, watch more than ONE sport....I find each sport has its own unique qualities and drawbacks, there's no point comparing them...like are you going to dismiss golf as a corporate charade just because executives use it to crack business deals?? Perhaps diehard football lovers don't think so. :P

  • Joe on February 7, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    I found the Sydney test to be an enthralling yet ultimately disappointing test match. Why?

    Firstly, some ridiculously bad umpiring allowed a match that would probably have been close boil down to an "only one team can win situation".

    However, a bigger issue was the actions of the captain. Irrespective of whether you play the game "hard but fair' and "within" the rules, as an Australian cricket supporter, I expect the captain of the team to rise above the pack (eg/ Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh). I do not believe Ricky Ponting does this - he wallows in the mire and brings the rest (save for Gilly) with him. This attitude also spreads off the field. The lack of respect shown to the opposition at the end of the Sydney match was a disgrace (and I don't care that India did the same in Perth). The lack of decorum in post match and later interviews compouded the problem.

    Walk/Don't walk - either option is fine. But show respect (ie. sportsmanship) at all times, particularly as captain.

  • Anup on February 6, 2008, 20:17 GMT

    i think Nitin's right, for eg., football is the king of sports not just because it is popular but because it is a wonderful sport to watch, its a dynamic sport and so on.

  • Manohar on February 6, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    @madan, I agree with nitin. Just ask somebody who follows more than 1 sport and they will tell you there is a difference in quality. Unfortunately generally speaking, Indians follow only cricket.

  • sanjay on February 6, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    I too remember distinctly that Gavaskar walked - right until the end of his career. And even back then, he was one of the few who walked.

  • ab on February 6, 2008, 16:21 GMT

    Great post I like the way you compare history with the present. So far the cb series has been seriously competetive and fustrating with the abandoned matches. The balance is the Indian team looks good and as an outsider back them to win the cb series. I have made a link with your blog on my formidable cricket site wwww.freewebs.com/cricfans123

  • Pat on February 6, 2008, 11:32 GMT

    I find it absolutely astounding that Fergus can find it even plausible that Ricky Ponting is unaware of the rules of cricket and therefore was innocent of cheating when he claimed an unfair catch - which planet is he from????

  • Prabhjot on February 6, 2008, 7:35 GMT

    not walking is cheating....If you have the technology why not use it to call the batsmen back if he's not out or send him in the hut if he is.

    The argument that it'll slow down the game is totally biased. Either you think about the betterment of the game or about those lucrative dollars that come up with shortening every aspect of cricket. This is a choice cricket organisers have to make.

  • Madan on February 6, 2008, 5:33 GMT

    Nitin: there are a lot of reasons why cricket is a POOR-QUALITY sport and unpopular, not just that its time consuming and slow. I can write a book.

    Yes, that's amply clear....what's not so clear is why you would want to follow a sport you declare as poor-quality...by the way, what is the basis on which a sport is pronounced poor-quality in relation to another...never heard of this before.

  • Madan on February 6, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    ...contd..

    I remember, in a Sportstar issue published before this Test match, Ted Corbett - an English writer - had lamented the poor umpiring and refereeing standards worldwide and said it would be great if the cricketers boldly stage a walkout demanding better umpiring, but that cricketers are too bothered about match fees and career to do so....well, Mr.Kumble did exactly that, protesting against not only Bucknor's umpiring but also Procter's poor decision-making as referee...seems everybody wants to change the tune now.

  • Praveen Nirmalan on February 6, 2008, 4:50 GMT

    There is one thing i do not understand about this. I am not too concerned if it is the 1950s or not. The argument to me is on a basic premise (maybe i have got that wrong). When you know the law regarding what constitutes out, and you know that you are out, isn't it in the interests of the game (the spirit, professionalism etc) to walk? I understand reasonable doubts. But isnt the role of the sportsperson also to ensure that the integrity of the game is upheld? Whatever be the money stakes? Especially if the money stakes are higher? I really cant see why the 1950s should be different from the 2000s in notions of basic human dignity? I guess i miss the point completely.

  • nitin on February 5, 2008, 19:32 GMT

    to madan, let me clarify just to get it through into your head:

    there are a lot of reasons why cricket is a POOR-QUALITY sport and unpopular, not just that its time consuming and slow. I can write a book.

    Now is it clear?

  • Venkat on February 5, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    So Mukul, what was at stake back in the 50s and 60s? A few thousand Rupees? What's at stake today? Millions (or more recently Billions) of dollars. If Pataudi walked let's say after scoring 5 runs, what was the risk that he'd be dropped for the next match? Slim to none. If Rohit Sharma walks after making 5, what are the chances that he's going to be dropped? Much.. much higher. So that's what Ponting means by saying that we no longer play in the 50s. If you really want things to work the right way, then take the decision out of the flawed humans on the field and give it to technology (just plain old slow-motion replays.... not hawk-eye or any other fancy gimmick). You can't argue with an ultra-motion replay that captures a faint-nick at 1000 frames per second. Pataudi and Kirmani just seem to have a holier-than-thou attitude. It'd have been interesting to see Pataudi walk when there was an endorsement deal worth $10M waiting to be signed.

  • Ivan on February 5, 2008, 18:22 GMT

    Gilchrist has been held up as an example of sprtsman spirit and it does appear as if he has shown some graet examples. However some lingering dobts remain - this talk of walking was first started when the Aussies toured India in 2004. I remember Gilchrist commenting to Kaif after an appeal 'the whole world is watching' implying that Kaif should walk. So the question is was that being done by Gilly to get an advantage. Something else to consider - when someone has a 'reputation' for being honest, if he appeals there is a chance that the umpire will rule in his favor - isn't that what happende when Gilly appealed for Dravid's caught behind in Sydney?

    Also Gilly will never walk when it is an LBW - only when it is caught.

    So I wonder if this was also carefully thought out in order to extract an advantage?

  • Pratik on February 5, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    For all those defending Michael Clarke's claim:

    Just look at the full replay. You will see that after catching (?) the ball, he rolled over and touched the ground with the ball while appealing.

    i.e., he was not in control of the catch before the ball touched the ground. That alone should let the batsman get off.

    For the chap who writes "Ponting wasn't aware of the rule ...", just roll back your memories to the 1999 World Cup reports. At some point you will see that in the team meeting, Shane Warne had suggested Gibbs wasnt always in control of his catches, and Waugh exploited on that, quite rightly, and the rest is history.

    So dudes, get your facts right before defending Ponting and Clarke.

    Randy: Why should a fielder's word be taken in case of doubt? Many a times when the ball hits the inside edge, does the umpire ask for the batsman's word before giving lbw? Traditionally batsmen get the benefit of doubt, since once given out, they dont ever get a second chance.

  • pritam on February 5, 2008, 16:37 GMT

    Ponting fans, read this…….that guy pushed Sharad pawar off the podium after winning champions trophy…….there are many youtube links for that video……….so Now Sharad pawar is the big boss of cricket and infact cricket survives because of india and Indians, there fore be silent you got no right to complain…..just suffer for 50-60 years………….times will change, ofcourse, but till then it’s our way…….get accoustomed

  • RandyT on February 5, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    A word about claimed catches. Why does the benefit of the doubt go to the batsman during a contentious catch? It's got nothing to do with the batsman. It's about whether the fielder caught it or not. If the technology can CLEARLY SHOW that he did NOT make the catch then by all means give the batsman not out. Otherwise the fielder's word must be taken and benefit of the doubt go to him. I know that Clarke's catch looked contentious on the replays but not one replay could prove with certainty that he didn't catch it. Clarke thought he caught it, that should be enough. Calling him a cheat for this is slanderous and should stop. Same goes for Ponting - his catch was legitimate, no replay can PROVE otherwise. Wishing it otherwise isn't gonna make it real.

  • poor old bowler on February 5, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    i think its a waste of time going on with all spirit of cricket stuff,they didnt bowl bounces at tail enders,didnt celebrate wickets,they scored centries off a couple of hundered balls and certainly didnt threaten to go home and get umpires sacked when a few bad decisions go thier way in the 1950s.

    i think indian cricket needs to take a good hard look at its self and the damage it has inflicted on cricket latley.

    letting some one off scot free for racial abuse,sacking umpires and threating to go home wheres the spirit of cricket in all of this.

    india will ruin cricket if its not careful,fair enough you might be behind alot of the money poured into to but at what cost.

    i blame indian cricket officals and sachin tendulkar for supporting the threat to go home and having the umpires sacked replacing bucknor for bowden,its a blight on sachin career for me and something i wont forget no matter how well he hits the ball.

    india have to be the worst sports of all time.

  • Vijay Shanbhag on February 5, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    As usual, Mukul is great. I think his point around the inability to escape the attention of camera is bang on. I just ave 2 points : 1.All the recent controversy is centered around the disproportionate power of BCCI. What we forget is that anyone who has had power at any time in history , has always used it. Of course, it takes a while for people to get used to the shift of power but they will accept it just the way India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan accepted the complete domination of MCC for many years. 2. Instead the focus should be on AUS and their total sense of denial to the fact that they are champions but hardly respected outside the fiel. The usual claims about playing "hard and fair", "leaving it all on the field" have all been made the Aussies themselves. These are things that others should say about you. But, I guess there comes a point where you fall in love with your own voice and believe everything that you say. I think that the last true Aussie team was mark taylor's team.

  • Teece on February 5, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    I don't agree with eveything Mukul writes, but I like his meditative tone. Cricket analysts don't need to be forged in the heat of battle. I'd be a bit cautious listening to much of what Neil Harvey says. His comments paint a picture of an old curmudgeon jealously guarding the acheivements of the 1948 invincibles in an old wooden chest. He wanted Mark Waugh and Shane Warne banned, then he wanted both Waughs dropped, then he criticized Steve Waugh for praising his opponents. His rationale was that Waugh was flattering weak opposition to subtly trumpet his team's records. I don't know about you, but I'm kinda glad I got to see Warne and Mark Waugh keep playing. It was sort of fun, even if they weren't angels. It's a bit like how cricket in the 50s was nice, but skull numbingly boring.

  • Gopalakrishnan NT on February 5, 2008, 9:22 GMT

    Do we really need LBW for a 20/20 game? LBW is the most complex and subjective of all OUT decisions. I can understand that this exists in a Test match for a batsman can play as long as he can and he cannot do so by using his leg. But given that a team has to play only 20 overs and not more than that, why do we need this one at all?

  • Madan on February 5, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    Nitin: there are a lot of reasons why cricket is unpopular, not just that its time consuming and slow. I can write a book.

    Aw, but so could I, in fact any longtime cricket watcher would write a long rant about the ICC's efforts (or lack of it). But playing in the rain is definitely not something I advocate.

    I live in Bombay, where the monsoon lasts four months. Believe me, even 'rubber ball' cricket gets tough in the rain and we would switch to football in the rain during my schooldays. :P As long as I can remember, cricket and tennis matches get rained out, football matches don't..the games are just different and it's immature to make judgments on the players' courage...btw, it doesn't take a great deal of courage at all to get drenched, coming from a Bombayite. You're a wimp, if you don't, matter of fact.

    Meanwhile, spare a thought for the people of Brisbane, they are getting respite from a long drought...I for one wouldn't wish the rain away for their sake. :)

  • Anonymous on February 5, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    nic: The same Kumble who,after accusing Australia of not playing within the spirit of the game, was more than happy to appeal for anything and everything (including Symonds being erroneously given out lbw in Perth when he quite clearly hit the ball)?

    It was a bat-pad and I remember when I saw it realtime it looked plumb..only the replays revealed that the ball had hit bat FIRST. A mistake, for sure but my dear friend, there is a difference between a close bat-pad being given out and missing a huge nick (Symonds in the first innings in Sydney).

    nic: Get off your high horse - both teams were disgraceful

    If indeed you accept that the Australian team's conduct was disgraceful, I am happy....you are free to say what you like about the Indian team, it would not bother me, or a lot of Indians in fact, but you have - albeit inadvertently - conceded the truth.

  • Madan on February 5, 2008, 5:07 GMT

    there are a lot of reasons why cricket is unpopular, not just that its time consuming and slow. I can write a book.

    You are not about to judge the quality of a game by its popularity, are you?

  • Kreacher Rocks on February 5, 2008, 2:08 GMT

    A small comment on most of the responses - people have been using Gilchrist as the template for cricketers who walk and have gone far enough to state that none else walks. Granted Brian Lara retired a few months before Gilchrist, but he was an outstanding player who always walked.

  • Oliver on February 4, 2008, 23:44 GMT

    it is pathetic to see the so called liberal minded, democracy-minded australians behaving like this. in my opinion india and sri lanka both have shown and will show much more discipline in Australia. What a pathetic show by Aussies for throwing eggs on Sri Lankans!!!

    Oliver(www.pakcric786.blogspot.com)

  • Nitin on February 4, 2008, 21:51 GMT

    to madan

    there are a lot of reasons why cricket is unpopular, not just that its time consuming and slow. I can write a book.

  • Kannan on February 4, 2008, 21:35 GMT

    To Joe, the pro-Aussie comments seem more agressive to you because you are Indian. I am from Sri Lanka and I think the comments of Indian posters is shameful (compared to those of the Aussies)

  • Sridhar on February 4, 2008, 21:15 GMT

    Mukul - You strech things a bit too far by refusing to give credit where it is due - "To his great credit, Adam Gilchrist instinctively understood that batsmen couldn't brazen it out any more" You credit Gilchrist's intellect and not his character and that is plainly wrong.

    Sydney was a great example how Indians toughed it out against Aussies in terms of skill and sledging. Unfortunately, they took trial by public as an escape route. The reason we did not win the game was because of bad decisions. But the reason we lost it was our own fault - we lost wickets to Michael Clarke. Bottomline - it was incompetent cricket that let us down.

    I, as an Indian, felt aggravated by the bad decisions, and would have been proud if we had shown more tenacity in the face of bad umpiring. Now we bring in umpteen unrelated unproven incidents: Did Ponting catch? Did Clarke drop it? Why did he stand for more than a second at the crease?

    Let's blame aussies for neutral umpires?

  • Sudhakar Reddy on February 4, 2008, 21:13 GMT

    I am frm hydrabad and i know who jaisimah was my dad says Jai was a gentleman and a hero of '60s and my dad also told me that in Kanpur test against Pakistan in the '60s series Jai was run out on 99 but the umpire joshi at that time said not out, not out, but Jai knew he was out so he walked away. So, it is very wrong of you to assume that Jai would have told Pataudi like that. Talking of Ponting, he is himself a big cheat and I was reading somewhere before that he was using a titanium coated bat which was illegal. Can that be made legal in future? They are also talking about introducing pink balls in cricket will that be possible or they are talking about girls cricket?

  • Taggy on February 4, 2008, 19:51 GMT

    Excellent article. There are innumerbale statisticians logging every detail of a players performance. So why not include these for their careers: (a) No. of instances of recorded sledges (b) No. of proven racial abuses (c) Number of instances of ball tampering etc. etc just about all the wrong reasons and the right ones. The ICC to give an award every year for player and team displaying best spirit & Indian sponsors do hear - Give a hefty prize for the best (lowest offence) performer & team with least offences to get an award on the same stage as world champs. Then let me see if Ricky Ponting finds things from 1950s outdated. Any one with a record as white as his flannels could be knighted over a long career as do the great perfomers like Sobers or Viv Richards. This is the best way to teach road side bullies a few curtesies 7 the game will improve. And let them be reminded that they will be remembered in old age for the wrong reasons!Let their records be flashed when they join ICC!

  • Taggy on February 4, 2008, 19:48 GMT

    Excellent article. There are innumerbale statisticians logging every detail of a players performance. So why not include these for their careers: (a) No. of instances of recorded sledges (b) No. of proven racial abuses (c) Number of instances of ball tampering etc. etc just about all the wrong reasons and the right ones. The ICC to give an award every year for player and team displaying best spirit & Indian sponsors do hear - Give a hefty prize for the best (lowest offence) performer & team with least offences to get an award on the same stage as world champs. Then let me see if Ricky Ponting finds things from 1950s outdated. Any one with a record as white as his flannels could be knighted over a long career as do the great perfomers like Sobers or Viv Richards. This is the best way to teach road side bullies a few curtesies 7 the game will improve. And let them be reminded that they will be remembered in old age for the wrong reasons!Let their records be flashed when they join ICC!

  • nic on February 4, 2008, 17:17 GMT

    "He thought Kumble was the only one who had emerged from the controversy with any grace"

    The same Kumble who,after accusing Australia of not playing within the spirit of the game, was more than happy to appeal for anything and everything (including Symonds being erroneously given out lbw in Perth when he quite clearly hit the ball)?

    The same Kumble that said nothing whilst one of India's players spat at Clarke in Adelaide?

    Get off your high horse - both teams were disgraceful

  • Rohit on February 4, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    Gran'pa Peter said: "Many of the people posting here should be ashamed of themselves, and I have nothing but contempt for a "so-called cricket historian" who vents his spleen to the extent your articles have shown, AND ENCOURAGES THE RABBLE.".... Lest he ruptures his spleen, someone should have his grandson give him a hug, ask him to take it easy, and try to stay away from "contempt" and similar emotions otherwise he will be caught up in the same current that he thinks is exhibited by us in this forum.

  • joe on February 4, 2008, 15:25 GMT

    The basic pattern I see by those of you who post on here has been divided amongst the country you originate from. But I do see that the pro Australian comments are somewhat aggresive.Wonder why?

  • Abhi on February 4, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    I agree with Mukul all the way.. If people can be more answerable to their conscious then they will do what Gilchrist has been doing all along. Walking when you know you are out is a personal decision that can at times have adverse effects on the match situation and can be very difficult to explain to your mates in the change room about your decision to walk when your team need you out there. They can be sometimes treated as even traitors and even the match fixing angle will be probed if the walker is from the sub-continent. So even if people would like to walk, given the adverse reactions from fans and media they refrain from doing so. I suggest there can be a system in place whrre the 3rd umpire can overrule the decision by the field umpire when he is able to find from his TV replays that the decision is wrong. And there must also be a rule that should forbid showing the replays of the batsman getting out on giant screens. This can add fuel to the fire and can make the umpire dodgy

  • Chetan on February 4, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Actually, if ICC wants the spirit of cricket to be followed in letter & spirit, the process is quite simple - 1. If a nick / bump is caught on camera, the man at fault for trying to benefit out of "human error" from umpires should be selected & suspended (He is part of the 11, but may not take the field for batting / bowling / fielding) for the next 1 game for 1 offence, 2 games for 2 offences. On a 3rd offence, the suffering team captail just says what he thinks would have happened & the match proceeds as though that had actually happened. 2. No Balls have to be called by the 3rd umpire, leaving on-field umpires using their senses for more critical calls. 3. Umpires who receive an unacceptably low score from a side any more than once should not be permitted to stand in matches involving that team for 12 months. Repeat offence, umpire is not allowed to stand in matches involving that side at all. This to ensure that ICC & the umpire's integrity are not questioned.

  • Kalyanaraman S on February 4, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    it is bad not walking, when you know you are out (but are living there thanks to the generosity of the umpires), but is absolutely stupid (and insensitive to the umpires), admitting publicly thay you knew you were out !! Murali Kartik did that, emulated by Ponting and Symonds !! looks like it has become some sort of a fashion to display "contrarian personalities" publcly ! is there a sponsorship deal for being a "hero" and "anti-hero" at the same time ?

  • Bone on February 4, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    Stewy, your reference to Jardine and bodyline is correct in all but one point - bodyline endangered peoples lives. That was the objection the Australians had with it, remember, in those days there was very little in the way of protection (padding) for the batsmen. So repeated fast deliveries at the body and head of the striker was extremely dangerous, especially when used against some of the lesser batsmen who would struggle to get out of the way. In todays game if bodyline was used it would still draw objections but not nearly to the level it did in the '30s.

    To Harvey, Sydney is only a big deal if you forget India's record of bad sportsmanship and crying because things didn't go their way. The bad sportsmanship that Australia were accused of was matched very well by the Indian's, for every act that is pointed Australia's way there is an equal one that can be pointed at the Indian's. The only difference is Australia didn't cry about it. And reporting racism is not crying!

  • sree on February 4, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    If umpire is the judge, "not walking" should be okay. Umpire is paid for judging a decision. But once you have the rub of the green , you don't beat your chest in an official press conference, denigrate the umpire and then claim that spirit of the game is intact. It is another matter that such things get highlighted by cameras.

    In the same breadth umpire should judge the catches not any HRH in the field. Now that we have technology to assist umpires, go for it, rather than believing the 2000's cricketers, who will do anything for money.

    Now as regards spirit of game,answer to that lies in Ricky's match report on umpires. If he says umpiring was not so bad (as said in press conf), he is not honest (lots of errors affecting oz as well). If he says umpiring was sub-standard in match report, then there is this double faced dishonesty (to get cheap points , that India failed because of their incompetence alone).

    Spirit, Professionalism etc are about honesty.

  • Neil on February 4, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    Methinks you pine for a time that is long past Mukul. A couple of points you might want to consider. If you are thinking that it might be appropriate for Ponting to change his "nasty" ways in response to something that Neil Harvey says then you are hoping in vain. In the entire 20 year era of Australia's success since the '87 world cup I could count on one hand hand the number of times I've heard him say something charitable about them. A great batsman he may have been but as a commentator he is just plain miserable and ungracious. As a result, modern Aussie cricketers don't care what he thinks. I am sure that you are correct that "not walking" commenced a long time ago. It makes your and everybody else's "revulsion" at Symond's admission that he had nicked the ball in Sydney even harder to stomach. I admired his honesty. His prediction that things would even out came true in the next test. Such balance is something you might want to consider in your future dredging over this issue.

  • Balaji on February 4, 2008, 9:22 GMT

    i watched your comments alongwith other gentlemen in the NDTV show last night. What is surprising is that in all this cacophony we seem to have lost the way.. Uphold the gamesmanship spirit.. Irrespective of the game, all genuine sportsperson do and have ingrained ethic of the spirit.. "do not cheat to win".. What is happening is that Ricky "Pointing" (spelling deliberate as he is always finger happy) is trying to legitimise bad behaviour and uncouth gamesmanship into some kind of pschyological abstractism.!! The main issue is that Symonds did not like Harbhajan tapping Lee for bowling well.!! Well! that is a SHAME to the great sport.. It is like Indians not clapping after witnessing one the great innings of Legendary Adam Gilchrist or worse Australians appaulding Sachin on one of stupendous performances.. Why did Symonds not give a mouthful to all this teammates when the applauded performances of opposition players.

    Symonds should have been punished for bring the game to disrepute

  • Rashmin on February 4, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    Is it possible that ICC makes a law that when batsman knows he has knicked the ball he must walk or face suspension for few mathes and fined some match fees? I am sure any batsman will think twice about not to walking as he is bound to be caught on camera and truth can easily be established. This will make umpiring relatively easy. There has been a lot of talk about using technology but human honesty will defeat even technology.

  • Madan on February 4, 2008, 8:31 GMT

    Bone: Using replays for catches in particular is useless, way too many catches for all teams have been disallowed because of the 2 dimensional screen, you don't get good enough depth perception to accurately make a decision.

    But until we get robots for umpires, cricket has no better alternative...if substantial doubt is established about whether the catch is clean, the batsman is not out. Arguing against the use of technology is not going to serve any purpose unless all 22 players plus substitutes are bound by oath against claiming bump balls ...and then, you might see players reluctant to claim DOUBTFUL catches, lest they get penalized. If the umpire has any doubt about a catch, it must be referred upstairs...we can deal with the Oxenfords of the world later.

  • Sankar on February 4, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    Hi all, before the neutral umpires arrival suchin has enjoyed a hell of a lot plumb LBW decisions in his favour while playing in India and scored tons of runs which should be divied by number of correct appeals raised, So lets move on it's just a game and enjoy the true champions like Dravid,Shewag,Hayden,Ponting,Kallis,Sangakkara,Pietersen,Hussey because their games are mostly relevant with the result of the match. Thanks. Sankar

  • shakester on February 4, 2008, 7:47 GMT

    Victor Trumpet, well said.

  • Sir Donald on February 4, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    Walking can not be seriously considered anymore. Gilchrist is the last of this kind and I can only remember him walking after he was an established player and made millions already. A young batsmen from any country cannot be expected to walk when he is battling for his livelihood. The real problem is the umpires. Mistakes happen, it is inevitable, regardless of where they come from or where they are. Teams will continue to over-appeal and pressure umpires to give decisions while they have only a split-second to make a decision. Technology and the third-umpire have to be used as much as possible to eliminate mistakes. Tennis uses hawk-eye, cricket should use it for LBW's. Catches need to be completely clear-cut on video or the great cricket saying 'benefit of the doubt for the batsman' should be enforced. Technology must be embraced to stop teams complaining and umpires getting banished.

  • wearelikethisonly on February 4, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    this is post may have been inspired by the on field behavior of aussies, but is not taking pot shots at them alone.

    clarke was an example. if he was so sure of his conduct he should not have sought a conversation with kumble to sort things out. as emotions cool it is clear to see that both teams/boards did not cover themselves with glory during this series.

    however, moving on, the point is about a batsman walking or not in this age of technology. it is difficult for us - arm-chair critics - to lecture the likes of tendulkar and ponting on the virtues of walking or not. they should be left to decide on current gains vs long term image and role model status.

    longmemory has raised an important point about appeals. i guess it is time for important changes in the way the game is played, but then dead bodies (ICC) don't think....

  • peter on February 4, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    I'm sorry if my previous post has been interpreted as an attack on Indians. I was aiming at the bigots of all nationalities. There are as many irrational Australians as there are Indians, Englishmen, Pakistanis or any other nationality you wish to include. The scourge of "journalism" is the "my country right or wrong" mentality. My criticism of Mukul,is that his posts pander to bigotry.

  • KesavanSucks on February 4, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Kesavan,

    I had read your earlier article that echoed Roebuck's sentiments was well written. No plagiarism there I’m sure. But your writing lacks consistency. A few nice articles in between piles of drivel. This one is no exception. You lack an understanding of the game and I'm not sure you deserve to write a blog or books on cricket." Distance brings Perspective" - spectatorial axiom my ass ... Please stick to teaching social history

  • Bone on February 4, 2008, 5:07 GMT

    Could anyone who contends that Clarke's catch was a bump-ball PLEASE find a replay of it!!!!! At VERY worse it MAY have touched the ground at the same time as it went into his hands. From the clearest angle you cannot see the bottom of the ball NOR Clarke's fingers. Yes it may have touched the ground but it is just as likely that Clarke got his fingers underneath the ball.

    Using replays for catches in particular is useless, way too many catches for all teams have been disallowed because of the 2 dimensional screen, you don't get good enough depth perception to accurately make a decision.

    As for walking, well the game throughout it's history has had both. Does a walkers word mean more than a non-walker? A look through history tells us that that is questionable. Do players considered honest always do the right thing? Well if they do then you can't consider Tendulka honest - ball tampering anyone? Not to say I don't believe Tendulka isn't honest just making a point.

  • Madan on February 4, 2008, 4:58 GMT

    Anand: and unlike cricketers who scurry like rabbits when there is the lightest of drizzles, footballers play even when there's a downpour. Just watching Barcelona vs Osasuna being played in driving rain right now and compare this with the wash out in Brisbane today (8 hours of scheduled play and still no result, worse, no play). No wonder cricket will never be popular.

    Huh??? It is very difficult to grip the seam of a wet ball and direct it at the stumps and also to pouch any catches..it doesn't help that the ball is so small and gets worn more easily. Besides, even tennis players HAVE to scurry indoors when it rains..what's it got to do with fighting spirit or popularity?? How lame to retort like that on a cricket website just because somebody said something disparaging about football!!! The reason cricket cannot become as popular as football is because it is time-consuming and its pace is slow - relatively...so, wanna make it over into baseball or what??

  • raj on February 4, 2008, 4:39 GMT

    "The difference between you and me is superficial, but I'll continue to kick your arse when it's deserved OK?

    "

    Victor, you forgot this "..but when you kick my ass when I deserve to be kicked, I will go running to Mommy" ;-) Just kidding, mate. I am sure you are ashamed by Ricky Ponting and Symonds as we are by Harbhajan

  • Harvey on February 4, 2008, 2:44 GMT

    don't know why the Aussies keep harping on the fact that India is complaining coz it lost the match. India even lost the Melborne test. India has lost many many matches to Australia. It's amazing why some Aussies are unable to see why Sydney was such a big deal. They just cannot. During the bodyline series, Douglas Jardine threatened to cut the tour short when one of the pressmen referred the English as being unsportsman-like. Here the captain of the opposition blames an entire Aussie team for "not playing in the spirit of the game". And Ponting just dosen't get it. His reaction - barring something minor, everything was played in the spirit of the game. Height of being thick headed.

  • Vish Viswanathan on February 4, 2008, 2:29 GMT

    I think it is entirely within a batsman's right to stay put till the umpire gives him the finger. That does not make a stayer a bad guy and a walker a saint! Umpires who do not have the gumption to be the controllers of the game have brought it to disrepute. Bucknor never hesitated to wag his fingers in the face of young Parthiv Patel for appealing (excesively, mind you) but when the Aussies chirp at the Indians, looked the other way. Procter, in my view, was very one-eyed dealing with the Symonds-Harbhajan saga. We need very clear Codes of Conduct for Umpires and Referees and they should be held to account after each series, with some sort of scoring, which should incldue feedback from the opposing captains. Ince an official's rating goes below a threshold, they should be removed automatically. I am sure the Bucknor and Benson would have received poor rankings from both teams

  • Victor Trumpet on February 3, 2008, 23:01 GMT

    If you look at these blogs, you'll see that Aussies and Indians apply the same words with the same structures, the same use of creative rationalisation and blinkered blindness to promote tenuous paroquial positions that emanate from the heart, rather than the intellect.

    Indians and Australians who can string a few sentences together are possessed of similar minds.

    We have more in common than we have differences and the differences are what make life interesting.

    Who here doesn't think George Bush is an idiot? Who doesn't think Gandhi, Mandela and Gorbachev are great? Who doesn't think Mukul is a stylish prose artist who fluctuates between rare impartiality and fervent one eyedness?

    Australians prefer Indian migrants to any others, because you love cricket, speak good english, have a sense of humour, abhor violence, practice a non-proselytising religion and hate George Bush.

    The difference between you and me is superficial, but I'll continue to kick your arse when it's deserved OK?

  • canindian on February 3, 2008, 22:53 GMT

    The article as such is not bad but does it or is it really going to help cricket in the future. Now people are opting for technology to decide close outs (not outs) which was not available to umpires in olden days. Did anyone raise any fingers on umpires for any bad decisions? Umpires are there for a job and they do it, I am sure, without any prejudice or any favouritism. I am an Indian living for the last 14 years in Canada and I can say that baseballs have so many outs and the plate referees do not resort to any third eye (camera) for their decisions. The plays are even faster than cricket and mind you it is professional baseball I am talking about where the stakes are much high than cricket. If we are to resort to 3rd umpire then I am sorry to say that the day is not far when even LBW decisions will be referred to 3rd umpire.

  • Stewy on February 3, 2008, 22:25 GMT

    I find the hypocritical insistance from Australians about how they play "hard but fair" quite amusing. The same could be said about Douglas Jardine. He played it "hard but fair", within the rules that existed at the time. Was it was unsporting? Probably. Did it upset the opposition? Definately. Did he win? Yes and decisively. Why? Because his bowlers physically intimidated the Australian batsmen. "Mental disintigration". Strange how someone else playing it "hard but fair" and "mentally disintigrating" opponents upsets the Australians when they are on the receiving end. I have very little faith in people playing "hard but fair". It usually means that they are willing to bend the rules to suit themselves, just like Jardine did. Behaviour that was considered unacceptable in former days, is now accepted as normal, and even emulated as the only way to win. It is a pity that present teams can't act with the integrity that Bill Woodfull did and declare the game "too good to be spoilt".

  • anand on February 3, 2008, 19:48 GMT

    @nipun and unlike cricketers who scurry like rabbits when there is the lightest of drizzles, footballers play even when there's a downpour. Just watching Barcelona vs Osasuna being played in driving rain right now and compare this with the wash out in Brisbane today (8 hours of scheduled play and still no result, worse, no play). No wonder cricket will never be popular

  • dilip on February 3, 2008, 19:34 GMT

    Nipun, there may be a lot of diving in soccer, but football's beauty is intrinsic, not in how its players behave. Cricket on the other hand, has no redemption.

  • Vipin on February 3, 2008, 19:32 GMT

    Well, I agree with Chappel's diagnosis about the difference between walking and claiming a catch however personal consistency is the name of the game. During T-20 world cup in the Ind-Aus match a batsman nicked, didnt walk and umpire ruled in favour of batsman. Batsman admitted in presentation ceremony that he had nicked. Here comes ponting's chance to talk and he says and I quote "I wish He would have walked" and then Ponting does not walk himself and defends his teammate's decision of not walking. This is quite not right Also about Proctor boy who fined rashid latif for claiming a false catch but didnt open his mouth on clarke is contentious. Also about the ICC guidelines about "unnecessary appeals", Indian players were banned in 2001 SA test for overappealing but if Aus does it. it goes unnoticed.

    The world was never flat and it will never be.

  • anand on February 3, 2008, 19:30 GMT

    nipun, you may not like football, but football is still the king of sport. and it is the most beautiful sport. Yes there is diving etc, but this is compensated by the beauty of the sport unlike cricket which I'm afraid is not much of a spectacle

  • Ashish on February 3, 2008, 17:04 GMT

    Moreover we should move on now......these discussions are just spreading hatred between the two nations....it's just cricket

  • Ashish on February 3, 2008, 17:02 GMT

    I'm so shocked and aggrieved to see that so many here consider honesty and integrity beig useless and out of date.... it's ok if u suggest that not walking away is ok (though i don't agree)but most here seem like they have completely ousted these values from their lives...it's PATHETIC One more thing an honest person is always honest and a dishonest one is never.....no matter whatever or how much is at stake...your integrity doesn't and should not change with situation.......

  • ignorance on February 3, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    @Fergus - but that seems a silly rule and one Ponting clearly wasn't aware of are you implying that captain of the australian team doesn't know the rules of the game!!!

  • Ram on February 3, 2008, 13:45 GMT

    The fact that stakes have become higher is no reason that the pedigree of “walkers” is becoming fast extinct. Even in an era of high stakes, we have still had the Gilchrists and Laras. Even in that era of pittances we have always had the likes of Chappels, Lawry, and Boycotts... If some body going to suspect the bonafides of Pataudi and Kirmani then we can only feel sorry for his ignorance of the prowess of these players because these players were not only respected by their own country men but also globally by players of great stature.

  • Anonymous on February 3, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    Shubho: How is it that it's ok for Aussies like Rext and Peter to pick any discussion at all and turn it into yet another opportunity to abuse Indians?

    Not just Indians...they forget that the words Ponting took so much umbrage to were said by Neil Harvey, not Mukul!!! The things that patriotic fervour does to people....

  • ab on February 3, 2008, 12:40 GMT

    Great artcle, Great writter. www.freewebs.com/cricfans123

  • Nipun on February 3, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    I agree.

    I, personally have lost my taste for football because of the acting (the diving, people being carried off the field by medics... who miraculously jog on to the field monents later, the zidane-matarazzi show etc.) and cricket is not very far right now.

  • Siddharth on February 3, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    Gilchrist has just walked off in the first one day of the CB series when the umpire Steve Davis didnt seem to be giving him out. Thats a cue for all the rest of the Aussies (and the rest of the teams). Thats how the game should be played. Long Live Gilly

  • Shubho on February 3, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    How is it that it's ok for Aussies like Rext and Peter to pick any discussion at all and turn it into yet another opportunity to abuse Indians? And how long before an Aussie brings in the BCCI into this discussion?

  • dr nangaswaami on February 3, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    whatever u say muku or muthu but that was a great article but rememeber that LAHORE LAHORE HAI....

  • Ratnakar on February 3, 2008, 8:21 GMT

    Peter, well said. As an Indian I am ashamed that our "best journalists" spew out such biased incompetent articles. Kesavan, you recently said one of Gavaskar's claims to "greatness" (another example of your tendency for hyperbole) was that he retired at the right time. I would advise you as an embarrassed Indian to please do the same and retire before you embarrass yourself and the rest of India further.

  • Madan on February 3, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    Fergus: it was because he knows from experience that whenever close catches are referred to the 3rd umpire, it's inconclusive and it has to be given not out. Ponting doesn't like that and fair enough.

    So, like Bishen Singh Bedi, you suggest the naked eye is better than technology? Sorry, cannot agree with that..if the television replays are inconclusive, then there must be some doubt and in cricket the batsman gets the benefit of it. If the naked eye suggests it's out, it might be an ILLUSION.

    Oh, and catching agreements existed long before Ponting's time...the other day, an Ashes match of 1981 was being shown and Boycott on nicking to Rodney Marsh looked to see if he claimed it as clean and on his doing so, WALKED.

    It is amusing that so many Aussies still suggest that we are hurting over the defeat.India has lost many many Test matches, home and abroad, before. This is an issue of principles, but I trust you don't wanna hear about it.

  • peter on February 3, 2008, 7:40 GMT

    Mukul, you remind ne of when I was a kid. My team could do no wrong. if ever they lost it was because the opposition, or the umpires were cheats. Around the age of 12, I grew up, and realised my team often lost because the opposition was better, my heroes behaved as well or as badly as others at different times. I grew up, I don't believe you or many of your supporters ever have. I have more grown-up discussions with my 7 year old grand-daghter than you and your ilk display in your posts. It is to Cricinfo's disgrace that they have allowed this discussion to plumb the depths it has. This column is not freedom of expression, it is pandering to racism and hatred. Many of the people posting here should be ashamed of themselves, and I have nothing but contempt for a "so-called cricket historian" who vents his spleen to the extent your articles have shown, AND ENCOURAGES THE RABBLE.

  • rext on February 3, 2008, 7:29 GMT

    Why is it that every team that plays India, let alone beats them, are cheats? Why are Indian cricketers the most convicted in World Cricket? Where did betting corruption begin? Which overseas tours in the last five years has India not threatened to boycott if their demands weren't met? Which Team has 3 ex captains all having suffered suspension? That's right, it's a worldwide conspiracy by black and white Nations alike to suppress the might of Cricket's natural World leaders and moral guardians! If there was a World Cup for self pity, self righteousness, blatant hypocrisy and self deception there would be no point in any other Nation turning up as India would be unbeatable!

  • Jay on February 3, 2008, 4:10 GMT

    Mr. Naresh is right. Sunil used to walk up until the second innings at karachi. It was the second over. And living in Bombay we got all tests live. I recall the appeal by the Pakistanis - don't recall if the bowler was imran or sarfraz - but at no point did numerous replayes show any touch. Soon after that laucnhed a murderous assault on Imran especially - 18 runs (4 4s and a 2 starting from cover and going all the way around) and Sarfraz.

    Sunil may have stood later on but the tragedy of what happened in lahore during the 192 run stand in the second innings changed his thinking drastically. Both were given out when not out through some non-stop appealing by Javed - who makes all players today look like kids.

  • RSN on February 3, 2008, 1:10 GMT

    Cricket has moved light years from that old english game played when there is trickle of sunshine, players being "lords" and "gentlemen" and "gallant"

    It is anachronistic and absurd to hark upon conventional terms like honesty, integrity, loyalty under professional sport where win/lose= big bucks anyway.

    when a simple game has assumed humongous proportions to such a level that it feeds not only the players but a horde of TV commentators, "sprouted in yesterday's rain" writers, bloggers, corporates, it is childish to complain about spirit and other nonsense.

    The game is not the same old game anymore..for sheer enjoyment and thrills and passion in the game , watch a bunch of 10 year olds play in a side street .

    Ban cricket for a year in india, and you could see an huge upsurge in the economy as all those man-hours wasted in watching/discussing/writing is put to use effectively.

    Cricket has moved light years from that old english game played when there is trickle of sunshine, playe

  • Adam Soudure on February 3, 2008, 1:09 GMT

    I get oh so tired of these holier than thou attitudes about sledging, especially from hypocritical ex-players like Neil Harvey. In Harvey's case, he can't stand that that the world has moved on since he played and probably is insanely jealous of the wealth and success of the modern player. He probably also can't stand that there other batsmen of his era who overshadow him (Sobers, Barrington, Pollock etc). He is a bitter old man whose time has past, and I say this as an Australian.

    Let's be real here: cricket has *never* been a gentlemans game, especially at the top level. Go back to the earliest tests and you'll hear about characters like Spofforth and his outright aggression (as is becoming of a quick bowler) and the often very unsporting nature of WG Grace. Not a great deal has changed in the intervening time.

    Play hard, play within the rules and accept the umpires decision. That is the best example that the modern cricketer can set.

  • M.Ganesh on February 3, 2008, 0:50 GMT

    Ponting is right... Cricket has become very professional compared to the 1950s. The tactics have changed. The Aussies have mastered the art of sledging and used it effectively to pressurise and deviate the focus of their opponents. This has been happening continuously after the exit of Border. And they have been winning ever since. That sledging has contributed to their wins has been confirmed by the Indians in Perth. They have established that when the pressure on the umpires is eased and the Aussies are unable to sledge ,they are not invincible. The cricketing fraternity should not look at India as a bully.On the contrary they should appreciate their efforts to stand up to the real bullies and expose them,

  • Fergus on February 3, 2008, 0:19 GMT

    Ponting didn't make the catching agreement because of etiquette - it was because he knows from experience that whenever close catches are referred to the 3rd umpire, it's inconclusive and it has to be given not out. Ponting doesn't like that and fair enough. THERE IS STILL NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT THE CATCH CLARKE CLAIMED WAS A BUMP BALL AT ALL. Had it been referred, it would have been not out, not because it wasn't out but because the evidence was inconclusive. As for Ponting's "grounded" catch... He caught completely safely without grounding it, then appealed with the ball, in his hand, resting on the ground. Apparently that means it can't be out, but that seems a silly rule and one Ponting clearly wasn't aware of. None of the Australians claimed catches that they did not believe they had caught cleanly. Neither did the Indians. No-one from either team walked when the umpire had given them not out. The teams played in equal spirit and character- Kumble's comments still shock me

  • Manick Sharma on February 3, 2008, 0:14 GMT

    I think the author possesses an extremely biased personality.Go to you tube you'll find tons of videos of Ganguly,Dhoni and many others of the indian cricket team cheating by claiming false catches.How many times have we seen Sachin not walking when he gets a nick for heavens sake admit the fact that international sports are like this.But who is going to accept the fact,we Indians have a habit of crying.Remember what happened in Kolkota a few years back when Sachin was run out at that the Pakistani team was a cheat ,today its the Australians.Remember the football world cup final how that Italian player sledged zadine.Come on Mr.Mukul Kesavan stop living a life of dreams.

  • krishna on February 2, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    HOW CAN You imply that cricketers walk. The only cricketer who has walked consistently is Gilchrist - an Aussie if you don't know. No Indian walks. Gavaskar only walked when it was convenient.

    So what's all this about walking and not walking

  • Anand Kumar on February 2, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    Mukul,how does this compare with the piece you wrote after the Chennai test in´04.Opinions may change with time.

  • Hyderabadee on February 2, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    It is NOT OK not to walk. The cheaters' argument that you don't get to stay when you get a wrong decision from the umpire when you know you are not out, hence, you can stay when the umpire gives you a wrong decision in your favor when you know you are out - is arguing that two wrongs make a right.

    It is important to keep in mind that an umpire is there to judge and decide a disputed issue - the prerogative word here being "disputed". If there is a genuine doubt about a dismissal, the umpire's call is final, such as in LBWs and borderline catches. Now, while adjudicating these disputed decisions, if he ends up making a bad call that goes against the batsman, that doesn't give the batsman a free pass in another situation to further worsen the game by forcing the umpire into a decision when he knows he is out. Essentially, for the batsman to stay even when he is out and force a decision from umpire is cheating. Its not that complicated, even with the incessant "spin" from cheaters.

  • Sena on February 2, 2008, 21:54 GMT

    I do not think Gilchrist is a SAINT as some of you make him out to be. Wasn't he involved in some of the appeals that were falsely given out such as the Sankakkara dismissal? As the Vice Captain, why did not he tell Ponting to recall the batsmen? Didn't Rodney Marsh tell Chappell to recall Randall in the Centenary Test in 1977?

  • Shaun on February 2, 2008, 21:48 GMT

    Simon B. I hope Gilchrist would not have walked since the replays clearly showed that the ball had come off the forearm of Kasprowicz and was therefore not out. A decision when you look back at the series cost Australia the ashes. Was not the only bad decision Australia got that series.

    But guess what, I never heard one Aussie say that the test should have been concidered null and void. Why not? Because that is life. You sometimes get the breaks (like a plum lbw not given by Bucknor against India in the first test at Lords mid 2007 - which allowed them to draw the match and ended up with a series win) and sometimes you get the raw end of the stick, like India got in Sydney.

  • Sena on February 2, 2008, 21:43 GMT

    Mukul, congratulations on the two excellent articles -- Right on the Money. You have just taken the journalism in Cricinfo to the next level. HOW ABOUT A THIRD ARTICLE citing the instances when opposing captains reclled batsmen such as Greg Chappell recalling Derek Randall when Rod Marsh indicated that he had not taken a clean catch.

    As an Asian (not from India), I grew up as an Australian cricket fan because at that time my native country was not playing test cricket. I continued to be an Australian fan until as recently as Steve Waugh's regime unless they were playing my country. I AM ASHAMED THAT I WAS AN AUSTRALIAN FAN! But thanks Ponting and Co., I am no longer an Australian fan and I am proud of it. Surely, there must be more fans just washed their hands off the Australian side.

  • RedNeck Ricky on February 2, 2008, 21:23 GMT

    Dear Mr. Kesavan,

    If there was ever a cricketing antonym for the word "erudite" it would be Ricky Ponting. To compare our poor country Tassie boy on field behavior to the likes of Nawab (who had the good fortune to be educated at Winchester and Balliol College) is a travesty.

    One thing Punter does better than most well behaved cricketers is bat, I think we have criticized the conduct of "his Boganess" enough, and it's to on how he actually plays the game ...

    Look forward to an insightful piece on the Australian skipper batting abilities.

    With Best Regards, Your favourite Bogan,

    RedNeck Ricky

  • TonyP on February 2, 2008, 19:42 GMT

    There's no point pining for the 50s. They're gone & good riddance. The KKK & segregation still operated unopposed in the US & aborigines didn't have the vote in Australia.

    The world's moved on & we must accept it.

    Watergate & Vietnam devastated confidence in the establishment. People began to see no need to do the right thing if it only got them messed over by the authorities.

    Speaking as someone who has played the game walking is fraught with danger. I have thought I was out when in fact I wasn't - an embarassing admission - but if my perception is faulty why should I rely on it?

    Even if I do walk when I know I'm out. I still HAVE to walk when I know I'm not out. In that case umpiring error works only against batsmen & never against bowlers. Which is nice for bowlers & wicket-keepers (thankyou Mr. Kirmani)

    All that being said, I do walk when I think I'm out, neither do I appeal when I think a batsman is not out. But I don't call them back if they're given. Is that cheating?

  • S. Sen on February 2, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    >>Anjo: "2) Were Pataudi or Kirmani ever dropped? >>How much competition did they have, nationally >>and domestically?"

    Yes to both, and quite a lot. Pataudi lost the captaincy to Wadekar under very contentious circumstances, although he did come back in the 1974 series against the West Indies. Kirmani's Test career came to bizarrely premature end, at a time when his partnership with Kapil Dev was at its height. Competition is a matter of the selectors' whims. Ask Mohinder Amarnath - another scrupulously honest player.

    Having said that, I don't think batsmen are under any ethical obligation to walk. Ian Chappell's point about self-incrimination is dead right, and as another poster noted, the batsman doesn't get to stay, or "unwalk," when the umpire gets it wrong. Obviously, he should have the decency not to gloat about his good luck, but then Symonds hasn't impressed anybody with his decency lately.

  • Longmemory on February 2, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    Is there any sport other than cricket in which there is this bizarre thing called "appealing" to a referee or umpire for a decision? I cannot think of one. I don't think the clock can be reversed on the evolution of the game: the appeal is a permanent part of cricket. Yet, it would be interesting to think of what might happen if the umpire were left to make his decision without eleven players screaming at him. It works that way in every sport on this planet, by the way. Don't tell me that cricket has subjective decisions like the LBW that make appealing necessary - there is nothing more subjective than the "strike zone" in baseball. On another note, I too recollect that Gavaskar was mostly a walker until the late 70's changed him. (I say mostly becoz he himself admits he didnt walk early in his innings when he nicked one during his infamous 36 not out at the World Cup back in 1975 - and to this day regrets that he didn't!)

  • dev on February 2, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    Didn't Pakistan expert commentators saw it as Tendulkar's weakness when he walked. I thought it was very silly of those commentators.

  • Krish Varadadesikan on February 2, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    I guess I am a little too old to comment on the state of the game. However, it appears to me that with passing of time, the game is getting only worse when it comes to on-field behaviour of the teams. The newer generations are a whole lot more immature than their predecessors. And that logic is applicable to every single team, Australia, India, Srilanka, WI, SA etc. However, we should also not forget that there are folks who don't get involved in this nasty drama. Mark Waugh, Gilchrist, Tendulkar and Dravid come to my mind.

    On a related note, as an Indian, it does bother me a bit that the Indian juniors aren't learning anything from their seniors both skills-wise and on-field behaviour-wise. Recent 20/20 is an example. The Indian juniors are one of the least accustomed lot to Australian conditions. High time they focus on their adjustments than getting into this sledging business. Not sure if I make any sense, but game is more important than this stupid sledging.

  • Madan on February 2, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    I think per se it is OK NOT to walk...after all, the batsman suffers when the umpire wrongly gives him out, why not ride your luck while it lasts in that case?? However, when the captains make a catching agreement, it IMPLIES - regardless of what is explicitly said - that both teams will play in a gentlemanly spirit and not walking when the ball has travelled to first slip and then claiming a grounded catch are certainly not gentlemanly.

    As for Ponting's scornful dismissal of criticism by old-timers, why did he offer a catching agreement in the modern era in the first place if he is so dismissive of old-fashioned cricket etiquette? And since the visiting captain accepted said agreement, all the more reason Ponting should have acted more responsibly and that is the ultimate blot on his integrity and indeed the reason why the Sydney Test caused so much outrage. Hope Australia fans get the picture now if they haven't already.

  • buz trevor on February 2, 2008, 16:21 GMT

    Really interesting discussion. Intuitively I like Gilchrist's attitude but I suspect that Anjo is right on with the reasons that Walking is going out of style

  • buz trevor on February 2, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    Really interesting discussion. Intuitively I like Gilchrist's attitude but I suspect that Anjo is right on with the reasons that Walking is going out of style

  • JOSE PAUL on February 2, 2008, 14:43 GMT

    I could not agree more with Mukul. The modern day cricketer's and a few of the older ones, have begun to belive that a public stand of honesty(like in ponting's case0 can mask their other actions of not walking etc, on the grounds of belief..! Dosent this apply to fielders, wht's an appeal, a plea, of reasonable conviction? Dosen't the fielder have the right to stand up for what he belives is right. Appealing with a false conviction is another thing.

    I belive the root cause of all that happened is sledging, Australia have always taken the moral high ground on sledging. The are professionally trained to sledge, the society makes rules and people are permitted to do that, within the ambit. the case point is that a person can be called a bastard and or a sis ****er, mom ****er etc but not a monkey. Australians play by their societal rules of sledging and can be incencing to Indians(Asians) and Asians sledge by their rules..

    The solution is not to sledge, wishful thinking!!!

  • Vijay Kashyap on February 2, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    I once read or heard Sunil Gavaskar say or write that he always walked, except when he was playing Pakistan because the Pakistanis didn't. This is also how I remember it.

    It wasn't Harsha Bhogle, but Gavaskar who said that thing about Clarke - if he doesn't walk, he can't be trusted with a contentious catch. But I actually agree with Ian Chappell (and I'm Indian). With the competitive nature of the game these days, it is silly to blame Symonds for waiting for the umpire's decision, but claiming a bump catch is outright cheating, and claiming a bump catch with an agreement in place of taking the fielder's word is definitely worthy of a ban.

    But ultimately, the cricket team is a reflection of society at large. If a cricketer continues to enjoy star status despite cheating or abusive behaviour, then the problem is not with the cricketer.

  • indyman on February 2, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Jesus Mukul, I am so sick of this matter and the not so indirect dig at Aussie cricketers, even though the majority of players worldwide do not walk and put the umpire under pressure when they appeal for catches and LBW's that are not out.

    Sledging is but a minor matter compared to these two facets of the modern game but your focus is purely on sledging and by further implication, that australia are cricket's bad boys becuase of it. This is typical subcontinent hypocritical nonsense.

    Over Appealling started in the subcontinent in the 80's as a means to wear down umpires and also with the hope of getting a cheap wicket and ALL NATIONS did it and continue to do it. Not walking also came in vogue all over the world in the 70s but the majortity of Indian writers have chosen to focus on the sledging issue and conveniently forgot the other 2.

    Spirit of Cricket was invoked by Kumble after Sydney but I failed to see it in the final two tests (Kartik's behaviour and Symonds LBW).

  • Anjo on February 2, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    1) Kiran More, not Mongia, debuted after Kirmani and was the first noisy keeper. 2) Were Pataudi or Kirmani ever dropped? How much competition did they have, nationally and domestically? Do you really believe the best in the country represented India (or for that matter, most countries) in the 1950s? I don't. 3) What options does a cricketer of today have if he is dropped at the age of 28-30, after he has dedicated his entire life to cricket? Its a lot harder to get a job nowadays than back in the 50s with little work experience or educational qualifications. 4) When you're paid a pittance, usually honor is the carrot at the end of a stick. Patriotic cricketers are disappearing, Shane Bond comes to mind. I'm not sure, I think in the 2003 world cup semifinal, Gilchrist walked even though it appeared he didn't knick the ball. A batsman may not always know, and its the same with a fielder who claims a catch. We have the technology, why provide the opportunity to judge someones integrity?

    I think that's exactly right. Use the technology available systematically and virtue will triumph without villains and martyrs. (Mukul Kesavan)

  • Simon B on February 2, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    Ah, Mukul, but the game has had this argument a million times before. The point about Carke is fair enough - his behaviou in Sydney single-handedly scuppered the "fielder's word" agreement, and rightly so - it should never have existed in the first place.

    But not walking is NOT cheating - you don't get to stay when the unpire misses the inside edge onto the pad and gives you out LBW, so why should you go when he misses the outside edge and doesn't give you out caught behind? But in neither instance should dissent from either side be tolerated.

    Let the unpire make the decision, and RESPECT that decision. A crackdown on dissent (suspensions for a first offence) would solve a lot of problems.

    The only cheat is the "usual walker" who stands his ground in a high-stakes situation. Gilchrist, to his enormous credit, has never (yet) done this, but would he have walked had it been him (not Kasprowicz) that faced the last ball in the Edgbaston Test in 2005?? We'll never know...

  • Siddharth Shah on February 2, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    Well done Mukul. Your last two articles have been bang on target. It is amazing to see how not walking has become ingrained into the psyche of a modern player. Not walking has almost become an example of the "Professional" approach of cricketers. But it is noteworthy that cricketers can be as professional without having to swear and abuse. One way to remove this problem is to increase the role of technology e.g. referrals. This would lead to lesser wrong decisions and in turn players would start walking again.

  • Naresh on February 2, 2008, 11:18 GMT

    "That seemed about right, anecdotally. I remember Gundappa Vishwanath (debut 1969 with Pataudi as captain) always walked, but Sunil Gavaskar (debut 1971 with Ajit Wadekar as captain) didn't."

    If you want to imply it had to do with PAtaudi and Wadekar's attitude, then I must point out to you that Gavaskar used to walk - upto the Karachi test in 1978 - where in the second innings he did not walk, and everyone agreed he must not have been out becaue he was a walker till then. But I agreed with him not walking - after all he and Chauhan had got bad decisions after a partnership of 192.

    Of course this is how I know it - I may be wrong.

    I don't think many will walk in today's game - not sure they should.

    I don't blame Symonds for not walking - and to blame him for admitting he knew he was out is also quite stupid (I do blame him for starting the slanging match later though).

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  • Naresh on February 2, 2008, 11:18 GMT

    "That seemed about right, anecdotally. I remember Gundappa Vishwanath (debut 1969 with Pataudi as captain) always walked, but Sunil Gavaskar (debut 1971 with Ajit Wadekar as captain) didn't."

    If you want to imply it had to do with PAtaudi and Wadekar's attitude, then I must point out to you that Gavaskar used to walk - upto the Karachi test in 1978 - where in the second innings he did not walk, and everyone agreed he must not have been out becaue he was a walker till then. But I agreed with him not walking - after all he and Chauhan had got bad decisions after a partnership of 192.

    Of course this is how I know it - I may be wrong.

    I don't think many will walk in today's game - not sure they should.

    I don't blame Symonds for not walking - and to blame him for admitting he knew he was out is also quite stupid (I do blame him for starting the slanging match later though).

  • Siddharth Shah on February 2, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    Well done Mukul. Your last two articles have been bang on target. It is amazing to see how not walking has become ingrained into the psyche of a modern player. Not walking has almost become an example of the "Professional" approach of cricketers. But it is noteworthy that cricketers can be as professional without having to swear and abuse. One way to remove this problem is to increase the role of technology e.g. referrals. This would lead to lesser wrong decisions and in turn players would start walking again.

  • Simon B on February 2, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    Ah, Mukul, but the game has had this argument a million times before. The point about Carke is fair enough - his behaviou in Sydney single-handedly scuppered the "fielder's word" agreement, and rightly so - it should never have existed in the first place.

    But not walking is NOT cheating - you don't get to stay when the unpire misses the inside edge onto the pad and gives you out LBW, so why should you go when he misses the outside edge and doesn't give you out caught behind? But in neither instance should dissent from either side be tolerated.

    Let the unpire make the decision, and RESPECT that decision. A crackdown on dissent (suspensions for a first offence) would solve a lot of problems.

    The only cheat is the "usual walker" who stands his ground in a high-stakes situation. Gilchrist, to his enormous credit, has never (yet) done this, but would he have walked had it been him (not Kasprowicz) that faced the last ball in the Edgbaston Test in 2005?? We'll never know...

  • Anjo on February 2, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    1) Kiran More, not Mongia, debuted after Kirmani and was the first noisy keeper. 2) Were Pataudi or Kirmani ever dropped? How much competition did they have, nationally and domestically? Do you really believe the best in the country represented India (or for that matter, most countries) in the 1950s? I don't. 3) What options does a cricketer of today have if he is dropped at the age of 28-30, after he has dedicated his entire life to cricket? Its a lot harder to get a job nowadays than back in the 50s with little work experience or educational qualifications. 4) When you're paid a pittance, usually honor is the carrot at the end of a stick. Patriotic cricketers are disappearing, Shane Bond comes to mind. I'm not sure, I think in the 2003 world cup semifinal, Gilchrist walked even though it appeared he didn't knick the ball. A batsman may not always know, and its the same with a fielder who claims a catch. We have the technology, why provide the opportunity to judge someones integrity?

    I think that's exactly right. Use the technology available systematically and virtue will triumph without villains and martyrs. (Mukul Kesavan)

  • indyman on February 2, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Jesus Mukul, I am so sick of this matter and the not so indirect dig at Aussie cricketers, even though the majority of players worldwide do not walk and put the umpire under pressure when they appeal for catches and LBW's that are not out.

    Sledging is but a minor matter compared to these two facets of the modern game but your focus is purely on sledging and by further implication, that australia are cricket's bad boys becuase of it. This is typical subcontinent hypocritical nonsense.

    Over Appealling started in the subcontinent in the 80's as a means to wear down umpires and also with the hope of getting a cheap wicket and ALL NATIONS did it and continue to do it. Not walking also came in vogue all over the world in the 70s but the majortity of Indian writers have chosen to focus on the sledging issue and conveniently forgot the other 2.

    Spirit of Cricket was invoked by Kumble after Sydney but I failed to see it in the final two tests (Kartik's behaviour and Symonds LBW).

  • Vijay Kashyap on February 2, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    I once read or heard Sunil Gavaskar say or write that he always walked, except when he was playing Pakistan because the Pakistanis didn't. This is also how I remember it.

    It wasn't Harsha Bhogle, but Gavaskar who said that thing about Clarke - if he doesn't walk, he can't be trusted with a contentious catch. But I actually agree with Ian Chappell (and I'm Indian). With the competitive nature of the game these days, it is silly to blame Symonds for waiting for the umpire's decision, but claiming a bump catch is outright cheating, and claiming a bump catch with an agreement in place of taking the fielder's word is definitely worthy of a ban.

    But ultimately, the cricket team is a reflection of society at large. If a cricketer continues to enjoy star status despite cheating or abusive behaviour, then the problem is not with the cricketer.

  • JOSE PAUL on February 2, 2008, 14:43 GMT

    I could not agree more with Mukul. The modern day cricketer's and a few of the older ones, have begun to belive that a public stand of honesty(like in ponting's case0 can mask their other actions of not walking etc, on the grounds of belief..! Dosent this apply to fielders, wht's an appeal, a plea, of reasonable conviction? Dosen't the fielder have the right to stand up for what he belives is right. Appealing with a false conviction is another thing.

    I belive the root cause of all that happened is sledging, Australia have always taken the moral high ground on sledging. The are professionally trained to sledge, the society makes rules and people are permitted to do that, within the ambit. the case point is that a person can be called a bastard and or a sis ****er, mom ****er etc but not a monkey. Australians play by their societal rules of sledging and can be incencing to Indians(Asians) and Asians sledge by their rules..

    The solution is not to sledge, wishful thinking!!!

  • buz trevor on February 2, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    Really interesting discussion. Intuitively I like Gilchrist's attitude but I suspect that Anjo is right on with the reasons that Walking is going out of style

  • buz trevor on February 2, 2008, 16:21 GMT

    Really interesting discussion. Intuitively I like Gilchrist's attitude but I suspect that Anjo is right on with the reasons that Walking is going out of style

  • Madan on February 2, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    I think per se it is OK NOT to walk...after all, the batsman suffers when the umpire wrongly gives him out, why not ride your luck while it lasts in that case?? However, when the captains make a catching agreement, it IMPLIES - regardless of what is explicitly said - that both teams will play in a gentlemanly spirit and not walking when the ball has travelled to first slip and then claiming a grounded catch are certainly not gentlemanly.

    As for Ponting's scornful dismissal of criticism by old-timers, why did he offer a catching agreement in the modern era in the first place if he is so dismissive of old-fashioned cricket etiquette? And since the visiting captain accepted said agreement, all the more reason Ponting should have acted more responsibly and that is the ultimate blot on his integrity and indeed the reason why the Sydney Test caused so much outrage. Hope Australia fans get the picture now if they haven't already.