Michael Jeh July 19, 2008

To walk or not to walk?

Is 'walking' one of those special things that defy explanation, an exotic beast that should be allowed to retain an air of mystique
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Samir’s insightful take on park cricket etiquette and Stephen’s plea on behalf of umpires raises some interesting questions about the duality of morality. Is cricket unique for its double standards and contradictions which are almost impossible to define in black and white terms?

Let's explore the issue of 'walking' then. Most international players prefer to let the umpire make the decision, a perfectly reasonable position if they take the good and bad with equal grace. But, as we see all-too-frequently, this is definitely not the case. It was never more evident than in the ill-tempered Sydney 2008 Test when Ricky Ponting set the tone for a fractious atmosphere when he was given out in the first innings, totally oblivious to the fortunate decision earlier that morning when he tickled one down the leg side. Live by the sword, die by the sword - not for Ponting that day.

Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar on the other hand have consistently maintained their integrity over long careers by accepting umpiring decisions with relatively few histrionics. And to be fair, they've both copped some absolute shockers over the years! Yet, good or bad, they have generally accepted the umpire's verdict with wry smiles and perhaps a slight shake of the head.

Speaking of integrity, no one has done more for cricket in that respect than Adam Gilchrist. By all accounts, his on-field honesty is no pretence. He is genuinely regarded in the highest esteem by anyone who has had much to do with him in all aspects of life. Yet, this has not stopped Gilchrist from appealing for some of the most blatant "not-outs" imaginable. Rahul Dravid in the recent Sydney Test and Lara at the Gabba in 2005 are two examples that readily spring to mind. Is honesty a fickle mistress, swayed by circumstance, seduced by convenience and dancing to a secret tune that only cricketers can interpret?

Can anyone offer a good enough argument to decode this ethical conundrum? Is 'walking' one of those special things that defy explanation, an exotic beast that should be allowed to retain an air of mystique?

Cricket is full of such complex contradictions. Take the bump ball catch for example. Most cricketers, at all levels of the game, would feel honour-bound to admit when they have not taken a clean catch. If the umpire is not sure, the player feels a moral prerogative to honour the spirit of the game.

This is where I get totally confused – what’s the difference then between the non-catch and not walking when you know you’ve nicked it? Why is it acceptable to not help out the umpire in this situation too? Surely, if you feel the need to come clean about a bump ball, how does it differ in morality to not admitting that you edged it to the wicketkeeper? Or why not leave all decisions to the umpire and take the good with the bad?

It’s almost as if there is an invisible hierarchy of right and wrong that is inherent in the very folklore of the game. It’s almost as if some crimes are more honourable than others, a bit like murderous convicts who despise the paedophiles who share their prison cells.

Where do we sit on issues like taking a catch when we know that we’ve touched the boundary rope? Are we morally bound to confess or is that something for the umpire to adjudicate on? Again, I keep coming back to ‘walking’. What’s the difference?

The admirable Gilchrist deserves the last word on this topic. When asked if he would walk if Australia was one run away from victory and one wicket in hand, he allegedly smiled broadly and replied, “if we needed one to win with one wicket left, I wouldn’t nick it!”

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Taff on August 13, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    Interesting that Gilchrist is championed as a saint. I wonder how many times he appealed for Shane Warne with an element of doubt in his mind as to whether the batsman actually nicked it. In that situation, groups of players go up and I don't remember ever seeing Gilchrist stop an appeal because there was an inside edge in an LBW appeal, or he wasn't sure if the batsman nicked it behind.

  • sankar on July 30, 2008, 5:09 GMT

    Sachin never walks,if this referral system could've happened some 15 years before, sachin might have lost no of centuries to his credit by a huge margin(with local umpires, because you have to get him out 5 or 6 times before the umpire gives such one).\ Hudos to the referral system.

  • El Mano on July 28, 2008, 21:05 GMT

    I think this is a very interesting topic you have touched upon, Michael. However, I also think it is about time people stopped using the statistical prowess and cricketing ability of certain individuals (e.g. Lara, Tendulkar) as a mask to cover the behaviour they exhibit on the cricket field, which, at times, as people have pointed out in earlier responses, can be quite dubious.

    Gilchrist may be the paradigm of unsullied sportsmanship in front of the stumps, but this chaste behaviour is far from present behind the stumps. This inconsistency highlights the focal point of this discussion - that cricketers are not machines, they are not always seraphic role models...in fact, that is rarely the case. The only victor with regards to this topic is the complexity of human nature, and the things man will do when put under pressure.

  • Tboy on July 27, 2008, 11:41 GMT

    Look up people, the sky is falling and the sun has diasppeared from the skies. The end of the world is nigh: St Sachin decides not to walk after quite obviously edging it. Or did he edge it? This is a conspiracy of incredible magnitude and probably involved at least 23 Australians and a host of South Africans and a few Poms. Surely the video footage was doctored. But im all over this one already: I have constructed an eggify of a video camera. It should burn brightly indeed. After all, its a well known fact that India have never lost a game of cricket by playing poorly, its always bad decisions that go against them.

  • no_quiero on July 26, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar today didn't walk despite having caught on edge. The third umpire gave him out when it was referred. So the writer might have to change his opinion about Tendulkar because this is not the first time he didn't walk after edging.

  • Tboy on July 26, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    So Tyrone,"... no-one being more competetive than the Aussies, no-one seems to cheat more." Please cite some examples of these malignant aussie cheaters. I dont want "they appeal strongly" or rubbish like that. I want a definitive example of cheating, a date, a game, what occurred and how the officials reacted (or failed to react.)Details please Tyrone, the devil is in the the detail.

  • Tyrone on July 25, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    The problem is not even cricket itself, it is people. I played cricket for a long time, lower leagues only, where the batting team umpired, and this is the sort of thing that has happened to me. I get told, "You don't give out LBWs." Why not? Surely if, in my opinion the batsman is out, it is my duty to give him out? Now, there was no money involved; at the very best, there was promotion to another league. How much more pressure then, on the current crop of players, for whom success is all that counts as, if you're not selected, you can't play. And if you can't play, it's harder to be selected in the future and your earnings diminish. People will do anything for money and the approval of others, so why not cheat at cricket? It seems the only sport where gentlemanly behaviour still applies is golf. Some cricketers may be worse than others, but it's unfortunately the curse of competetiveness and, with no-one being more competetive than the Aussies, no-one seems to cheat more.

  • Tboy on July 21, 2008, 21:40 GMT

    Actually Eddy sitting with your pads on for 3 hours is sending a signal to the umpire loud and clear: Im not out, you shouldnt have given me out and Im displaying my anger in a passive aggressive way. Instead of throwing my helmet etc Im going to stage a public sit in. Its still an exhibition of disrespect for the umpires decision isnt it? Whats wrong with showing passion and anger when you get out? Bowlers and fielders express their exultation at a dismissal, its only human for the bloke going off the field to express his frustration. Never had a hissy fit on cricket field myself.Never will. But Ive lamented my wicket loudly and longly with the team and talked their ears off about it. Different strokes for different folks. How is someone throwing their bat any difference from a bowler throwing his hat in anger or doing tumbles on the ground in jubilation for that matter? Perspective people: this is a game played by people. They will behave like people, whether you like it or not.

  • Poopy McPooperton on July 21, 2008, 19:25 GMT

    My dear friend Andrew, You are hell bent of proving that Ponting is a gentleman of the game and you know what, you fail miserably at that cause Ponting's done so wrong over the years, he will not commend any respect in any damn part of the world. As far as Tendulkar and Lara are concerned, there are well documented facts which prove that they have been thoroughly professional in regard to their game. Not surprising to find that every Australian ground that he played at in the last series, he received a rousing reception and equally big ovation at the end of his innings. Hard to imagine Ponting getting that in Zimbabwe or Pakistan or any damn country in the world. A pest is a pest is a pest. I havent seen Ponting being invited to Wimbledon or a F-1 podium or whatever. Respect counts and respect is gained by giving others the same. Sorry, Ponting cuts a sorry figure in this game and its about time you stop faking Australian honor for nothing. About time you realize and accept.

  • Terry on July 21, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    Tendulkar waits and lets the umpire do his job. When the umpire is right he walks off straight away, when the umpire is wrong he takes an extra second to show is dissapointment then walks off. The trouble/beauty with 'walkers' is that they dont wait to be given out when they know there out and when they know there not out they take an extra second to show is dissapointment then walk off. Is there such a big difference?????? Walkers make the umpires job easier!

  • Taff on August 13, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    Interesting that Gilchrist is championed as a saint. I wonder how many times he appealed for Shane Warne with an element of doubt in his mind as to whether the batsman actually nicked it. In that situation, groups of players go up and I don't remember ever seeing Gilchrist stop an appeal because there was an inside edge in an LBW appeal, or he wasn't sure if the batsman nicked it behind.

  • sankar on July 30, 2008, 5:09 GMT

    Sachin never walks,if this referral system could've happened some 15 years before, sachin might have lost no of centuries to his credit by a huge margin(with local umpires, because you have to get him out 5 or 6 times before the umpire gives such one).\ Hudos to the referral system.

  • El Mano on July 28, 2008, 21:05 GMT

    I think this is a very interesting topic you have touched upon, Michael. However, I also think it is about time people stopped using the statistical prowess and cricketing ability of certain individuals (e.g. Lara, Tendulkar) as a mask to cover the behaviour they exhibit on the cricket field, which, at times, as people have pointed out in earlier responses, can be quite dubious.

    Gilchrist may be the paradigm of unsullied sportsmanship in front of the stumps, but this chaste behaviour is far from present behind the stumps. This inconsistency highlights the focal point of this discussion - that cricketers are not machines, they are not always seraphic role models...in fact, that is rarely the case. The only victor with regards to this topic is the complexity of human nature, and the things man will do when put under pressure.

  • Tboy on July 27, 2008, 11:41 GMT

    Look up people, the sky is falling and the sun has diasppeared from the skies. The end of the world is nigh: St Sachin decides not to walk after quite obviously edging it. Or did he edge it? This is a conspiracy of incredible magnitude and probably involved at least 23 Australians and a host of South Africans and a few Poms. Surely the video footage was doctored. But im all over this one already: I have constructed an eggify of a video camera. It should burn brightly indeed. After all, its a well known fact that India have never lost a game of cricket by playing poorly, its always bad decisions that go against them.

  • no_quiero on July 26, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar today didn't walk despite having caught on edge. The third umpire gave him out when it was referred. So the writer might have to change his opinion about Tendulkar because this is not the first time he didn't walk after edging.

  • Tboy on July 26, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    So Tyrone,"... no-one being more competetive than the Aussies, no-one seems to cheat more." Please cite some examples of these malignant aussie cheaters. I dont want "they appeal strongly" or rubbish like that. I want a definitive example of cheating, a date, a game, what occurred and how the officials reacted (or failed to react.)Details please Tyrone, the devil is in the the detail.

  • Tyrone on July 25, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    The problem is not even cricket itself, it is people. I played cricket for a long time, lower leagues only, where the batting team umpired, and this is the sort of thing that has happened to me. I get told, "You don't give out LBWs." Why not? Surely if, in my opinion the batsman is out, it is my duty to give him out? Now, there was no money involved; at the very best, there was promotion to another league. How much more pressure then, on the current crop of players, for whom success is all that counts as, if you're not selected, you can't play. And if you can't play, it's harder to be selected in the future and your earnings diminish. People will do anything for money and the approval of others, so why not cheat at cricket? It seems the only sport where gentlemanly behaviour still applies is golf. Some cricketers may be worse than others, but it's unfortunately the curse of competetiveness and, with no-one being more competetive than the Aussies, no-one seems to cheat more.

  • Tboy on July 21, 2008, 21:40 GMT

    Actually Eddy sitting with your pads on for 3 hours is sending a signal to the umpire loud and clear: Im not out, you shouldnt have given me out and Im displaying my anger in a passive aggressive way. Instead of throwing my helmet etc Im going to stage a public sit in. Its still an exhibition of disrespect for the umpires decision isnt it? Whats wrong with showing passion and anger when you get out? Bowlers and fielders express their exultation at a dismissal, its only human for the bloke going off the field to express his frustration. Never had a hissy fit on cricket field myself.Never will. But Ive lamented my wicket loudly and longly with the team and talked their ears off about it. Different strokes for different folks. How is someone throwing their bat any difference from a bowler throwing his hat in anger or doing tumbles on the ground in jubilation for that matter? Perspective people: this is a game played by people. They will behave like people, whether you like it or not.

  • Poopy McPooperton on July 21, 2008, 19:25 GMT

    My dear friend Andrew, You are hell bent of proving that Ponting is a gentleman of the game and you know what, you fail miserably at that cause Ponting's done so wrong over the years, he will not commend any respect in any damn part of the world. As far as Tendulkar and Lara are concerned, there are well documented facts which prove that they have been thoroughly professional in regard to their game. Not surprising to find that every Australian ground that he played at in the last series, he received a rousing reception and equally big ovation at the end of his innings. Hard to imagine Ponting getting that in Zimbabwe or Pakistan or any damn country in the world. A pest is a pest is a pest. I havent seen Ponting being invited to Wimbledon or a F-1 podium or whatever. Respect counts and respect is gained by giving others the same. Sorry, Ponting cuts a sorry figure in this game and its about time you stop faking Australian honor for nothing. About time you realize and accept.

  • Terry on July 21, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    Tendulkar waits and lets the umpire do his job. When the umpire is right he walks off straight away, when the umpire is wrong he takes an extra second to show is dissapointment then walks off. The trouble/beauty with 'walkers' is that they dont wait to be given out when they know there out and when they know there not out they take an extra second to show is dissapointment then walk off. Is there such a big difference?????? Walkers make the umpires job easier!

  • eddy on July 21, 2008, 13:09 GMT

    @ Tboy.......of course Lara got angry when he was given out when he really shouldnt have been. But sitting in the stand being angry is hardly bringing the game into disrepute. The point is Lara walked when he knew he was out BEFORE he was given out.

  • Tboy on July 21, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    Please give the "St Sachin, Adam and Lara" spiel a rest. I recall Sachin and the ball tampering, Lara and his prima donna behaviour and Gilli and his appealing. Dont ascribe impossible perfections and values to people because they are your heroes: they are human too, they have hate and anger and moments of irrational thought as well. I am a big fan of the little master, but I have seen him linger and look long and hard at the umpire after he didnt like a call. I have seen him not walk after nicking it. I have seen Lara and Sachin swing their bats at the ground, their pads and advertising boards in anger. I have witnssed Lara sitting in the stands in his batting gear for hours after getting a bad call. I have witnessed Gilli chirping maniacally to McMillan after he failed to walk. This is prima donna behaviour. As for the shoulder before wicket incident in KL 22/9/2006,the umpires called Sachin back and punter didnt request immediate replacement or Aus would withdraw from the series.

  • eddy on July 21, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    The problem with walking is this.... When the Windies toured England in 2004 (which was Lara's last tour of England) he was given out twice to the bowling of Ashley Giles off his pads once in the 1st test and again in the 2nd test. Lara didn't walk while all of the England team were jumping and celebrating around him. As i watched it live and watched Lara looking towards to umpire in disbelief i knew he hadn't hit the ball. TV replays proved this. Now it is well known that Lara walks, was the umpire supposed to read this and trust Lara and give him(the right decision) not out? No of course not, that’s the umpires role I hear you cry.. Thats why Lara was so upset and being given out when he wasn't, baring in mind how he often makes the umpires job easier by walking when he nicked one. In the spirit of the game, yes you walk when you nick it and try to be true to yourself and the game, and in a completely ideal world of cricket the umpire would trust the batsman's word on whether he nicked it or not like the Lara scenario I have just described.

    A player will get away with as many bad decisions as he will good if he plays for long enough. But in today’s cut-throat game the spirit of the game is being lost. Unfortunately it is the player that walks that misses out the most. Unless all players walk you have an unfair balance of players that get away with bad decisions and the players that walk at being out and also have to take bad decisions.

  • suraj on July 21, 2008, 2:49 GMT

    To all of the Sachin critics, this man respect the decision of umpires, he wait for the umpire to take their time he walks if the finger is raised, doesn't matter even if this is " shoulder before wicket'. Never look back at the umpires wth fire in eyes or murmuring in mouth like most of "professional' cricketers do.

  • The Best Policy on July 20, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    It's been yonks since I read the rules, but if it's a fair delivery, you hit it and the fielder takes it cleanly then you're out. If you know, then not walking is cheating.

    The rules define the game: you know you're playing cricket when the action on the field corresponds to those rules (and not those of baseball, rounders or golf, for instance). You're also out if the umpire gives you, irrespective of the accuracy of their adjudication. Umpires make mistakes the same as any player (probably fewer than most batsmen or bowlers for that matter).

    If you're not sure then there's no compunction to walk or accept the fielding teams word for anything. To do so would be either noble or foolish depending the relative weighting of cynicism and idealism in your world view.

    Whether on the cricket field, the highway or the tax return there is no shortage of people capable of being very creative in accounting for the ethics of their own behaviour (myself included, unfortunately).

  • Tboy on July 20, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Aussie hypocrisy?I have watched enough cricket and seen more than my fair share of players from every country claim dodgy catches, not walk when they hit it or appeal for ludicious reasons. Im afraid the illness of winning at all costs is not only an australian disease (Murali being run out by kiwis, vaughan claiming a catch off Amla, DeVilliers claiming a catch, sachin not walking in ODI vs australia etc)The list is endless. Face the facts people, we are talking about professional atheletes who rely on professional umpires to make decisions. Sometimes both sides screw it up with batsmen and bowlers getting shockers. Symonds stated at the press conference that he "could talk for hours about all the bad calls he has got over the years." Not even modern technology can determine if players have hit the ball or not. End the hysteria and accept that these decisions are made by humans, and humans will get it wrong from time to time. Burning effigies and over reacting is not the way to go.

  • Paul Martin on July 20, 2008, 13:10 GMT

    Lara is the only batsman who has always walked because he believed this is a gentleman's game and he never played for records

  • Hangus on July 20, 2008, 5:18 GMT

    I think it's quite straight forward, do we want cricketers to cheat, whether it be not walking or excessive appealing etc or be honest and fair and remain unique in the sporting world? Cricket and it's participants are not and haven't always been perfect but the sense of fair play has generally prevailed over the years, other sports have not been so fortunate and are poorer for that.If we care for the sport, clearer guidance for both players and umpires must be given.

  • Aditya on July 20, 2008, 5:09 GMT

    I think the moral hypocrisy of the Australian team, barring perhaps Gilchrist or Brett Lee is apparent here. In the same Sydney Test, Michael Clarke claimed a catch that was clearly grounded in the last innings, but didn't walk when he clearly nicked to slip in their second innings. It simply shows that it's best to leave everything to umpires, because I don't think players are to be trusted (and after all that's at stake, who can blame them?)

  • D.V.C. on July 20, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    I remember once being given out caught behind. As I walked off the field my captain asked me, "Did you hit that?" I thought for a second, then had to reply, "I don't know." Sometimes you just aren't sure if you're out or not. This fact seems to be forgotten in this debate.

    It's tougher for the fielders to be sure that a batsman has nicked one than it is for the batsman himself. Hence, they ask the umpire. This is why walking/not walking is not the same as appealing/not appealing.

    I was always taught that appealing is asking the umpire "How is that?" -- 'Is he out?' Such a question need only be asked if one is unsure, or if there is disagreement.

  • ponting on July 20, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Andrew, Looks like you have not been following all that Gilly does. Selective memory I think. He appealed for catches wide off the bat in case of Rahul Dravid at Syndney 2007 and Brian Lara in 2005. Looks like he knows when not to follow the rule books . The point is Australians are known to create their own books of ettiquite which they expect others to follow but they rarely do so. Winning is all to them.

  • chandra Kashyap on July 20, 2008, 1:08 GMT

    A simple reason not to walk and leave it to the umpire. During one's career one would get many other bad decisions apart from snicking like bat-pad lbw, caught at silly mid-off of pads etc. So by not walking you are allowing things to balance out over the long run. I also feel that if on walks like Gilly or Sanga, then they should be as sportsman like in other aspects of game, like not appealing for balatant not outs and such.

    It would be interesting to compare Gilly's and Sanag's appealing behind the stumps and see which one carries the walking habit to other aspects of the game more fully.

  • saurabh somani on July 20, 2008, 0:34 GMT

    Well, saurabh somani, quite interested in how you 'know' that Ponting was 'aware' that he hit that ball down the leg? I don't pretend to know what is happening in someone else's mind. The point I made was it was incredibly feint and if a batsman is not sure,he is entitled to wait for the umpire's decision in that situation.

    As for batsman waiting for te umpires decision...it's a quirky part of cricket that the fielding team must be absolutely honest at all times and never try to decieve the umpire or the batsman. Batsman since the beginning of cricket have stood there ground on the chance that may stay in. Unfair? Th basic reason is that when the batsman is out there is no other chance, but for the fielding team there is always the next ball. Many a 'walker' has declined to walk early in his innings because ne hasn't had a a bat yet! but suddenly becomes generous after he has scored a few runs!!

  • Michael Jeh on July 19, 2008, 23:10 GMT

    Lara, Sachin, Gilly, Sanga rarely throw public tantrums when they get a bad one. When they get a bad one, they stay true to their ethics, despite being walkers. Some refuse to walk (fair enough - leave it to the umpire) but are also the ones who (a) throw a tantrum when they get a bad one, (b) throw a tantrum when an opposition player doesn't walk, (c) throw a tantrum when the umpire gives an opposition batsmen "not out" when it might be out. If consistent, they would leave everything to the umpire and take good/bad with a philosophical shrug. It all evens out they reckon, not just when you're batting but also when your team is bowling. All countries have these players who are inconsistent with ethics. Current Test at Headingley - lots of dodgy catches and moral posturing and head-shaking. "I won't believe you but you must believe me". Leave ALL decisions to umpires then, accept gracefully and cut out public tantrums which are meant to say "poor old me, another bad decision ".

  • Andrew on July 19, 2008, 22:42 GMT

    As for WHY there's a different code of ethics on bump balls, boundary ropes etc it's 3 things: 1) Players are more likely to aid the umpire where he couldn't have been expected to rule (e.g. stepping on a rope 70m away) compared to what he's EXPECTED to rule on (caught behind, LBW). 2) They're more likely on a ruling that is unlikely to square itself up tomorrow (e.g. took only a session to square up Ponting's nick with another one). A player will almost certainly not cop a bad umpiring decision on a boundary rope question so he can admit without worry. 3) A "non-catch" does not affect the player's stats, unlike walking or appealing.

  • Andrew on July 19, 2008, 22:29 GMT

    Watch Gilly's appealing over a long period - he does NOT appeal when he knows it's not out (thigh pad legside etc), despite what's happening around him. He appeals when he knows it's out or thinks it might be and isn't sure. From the front, it should have been obvious it missed glove (there was never any suggestion of bat, but the gloves were exposed). From an unsighted position behind, not so clear.

    Saurabh somani, surely you're not suggesting IND won a match against AUS due to poor umpiring (and at home too?) Surely that goes against the constant refrain about IND always being at the receiving end of an international conspiracy? Tendulkar the great "gentleman" has a conviction for ball-tampering I remind you (even if he walks), isn't that worse? Ganguly agreed to take batsmen's word, then breaches it - he claimed the worst bump ball catch of all time in that WC final.

    (Baseball has an appeal by the fielders to the 1BU to rule on an aborted swing on a ball.)

  • Naresha on July 19, 2008, 19:58 GMT

    Didn't we tire of this debate after Sydney? Nothing has changed since then. I just wanted to point out that while Sachin Tendulkar is indeed a man of immense integrity, he isn't really a walker. Lara and Gilchrist were. However, I do agree that Sachin takes bad decisions with the best grace in the world (though it is hard to beat Lara in this respect too). Symonds doesn't do too badly when it comes to taking bad decisions with grace, though I'm not going to be queuing up for his autograph.

  • amicable on July 19, 2008, 19:29 GMT

    I don't know if I can call Tendulkar as a walker. I have seen few times he globing or edging and not walking.

    As far as talking about sportsmanship is concerned fielders claiming bump ball can also be questioned.

  • Dave on July 19, 2008, 19:18 GMT

    I think it's actually fairly simple. The umpire is not there to decide if the batsman hit it. He is there to make a decision in the event of contention. The appeal to the umpire is in effect "I think that was out, is the delivery fair". Thats what it was originallly anyway. If the batsman knows he hit it, and the fielders do as well, then there is no contention so the appeal is whether the ball was fair or not. But if a batsman knows he hit the ball and still stands his ground, hes saying to the umpire "I dont think I hit that delivery". Hes basically deliberately lying to the umpire to preserve his wicket, and there is no way you can dress that up to make it acceptable.

  • Rory on July 19, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    I agree that walking is all based on one's integrity. The "Brians, Sachins, and Gillies" of world cricket make the game more pleasant to watch. It shows true class to walk when in the 90s. I've seen those blokes walk early on in their careers without being established. But I am very confused about the perception of walking. Let me give an example. Andrew Symonds will knowingly edge a ball to the keeper (and can be heard and seen around the world) and wait for the umpire's decesion because he stated that umpires are there for a reason, but he will walk when a catch is taken at covers or any other position? Seems contradictary don't you think?

  • saurabh somani on July 19, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    @ graeme: which test were you watching mate? the one he 'may' have tickled??? he very clearly got an edge, and was aware of it. watch the replays of the test match, and you will see. i agree that the decision to give him out was a howler, but that is precisely michael's point: don't throw a fit when you get rough decision if you're happy to take your way all the decisions that go for you. @andrew: where in the article did you detect any hint of whinging about the australians being the only ones not to walk? and if the australian attitude is to 'leave it to the umpire' why do they always act like children deprived of candy whenever a decision goes against them? and michael makes a clear point on the existing dilemma in ethics for appealing and walking. lara and tendulkar are gentlemanly cricketers, something that ponting is far from being (even though his batting skill is probably right up there with them)

  • Ben on July 19, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    Not really related, but Longmemory, football players appeal to the umpire all the time for decsions to go their way.

  • sac on July 19, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    Looks like graeme who's been a walker all his life seems there are different degrees of being dismissed.. a faint nick is less out than a loud nick is it??? a funny thing morality when it comes down to how much likely it is to be cought by others..

  • Don Talon on July 19, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    The thing is that only the stars with already assured careers of top stats walk. Ask a guy who has an average of 20 after 20 test to walk and he'd ask you if you're crazy. Of course Lara ,Sachin ,and Gilchrist will walk because no matter if they score 00 or 100 they are certain to play the next 40 games.

  • Swami on July 19, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    Lot of conflicts with Australians have happened because they would like to play the game in only their own framework of morality. Some opponent batsmen have refused to walk for borderline catches based on the word of Australian fielders and apparently those decisions must not be made by umpires according to Australian fielders. Its this warped sense of morality that splits the game. Either leave everything to umpires, or everything to conscience, integrity and honesty. Selective code of honesty will never find common acceptance across cultures.

  • Dilan on July 19, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    What about Sangakkara he is one of todays premier players who will walk if he nicks it whatever the situation

  • Andrew on July 19, 2008, 8:12 GMT

    As usual, the tired old whinge that Australians seem to be the only ones not to walk gets trotted out, in a futile attempt to portray not walking as "not in the spirit of the game". I believe that appealing when you know damn well that the batsmen is not out is also against the spirit of the game (and I'm certain that Tendulkar and Lara have indulged in that over the years, which shoots Michael Jeh's theory that "Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar on the other hand have consistently maintained their integrity over long careers" down in flames. The Australian attitude (whether you like it or not) is to leave it to the umpire. If everybody left it to the umpire, and kept their mouths shut when things didn't go their own way, there wouldn't be a problem.

  • Longmemory on July 19, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    I agree that there are all sorts of inexplicable contradictions. The very idea of "appealing" to an umpire to get a decision is unique to cricket. I cannot think of a single sport in which this occurs besides cricket. While I am not sure if Gilly was always the choir-boy he's made out to be, I do think there's a difference between not walking after nicking a ball while batting and appealing for a bat-pad or a caught-behind off the thigh pad when you're the keeper. A wicky is often unsighted and it all happens so fast that appealing is almost instinctive. I don't know that I'd hold appealing in real-time against any keeper and can't hold that against Gilly. Its the likes of Ponting - never walks ever, and yet throws a huff any time he cops a bad one or even an iffy one - who make me barf.

  • graeme on July 19, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    The example of Ponting in that Sydney test is really poor. The one he 'may' of tickled down leg side would never have been given out by any umpire as it was so feint and even on snicko it was almost nothing, no way could the batsman know if he really got a touch or not. The decision he got out on was a howler!! The ball went 45 degrees of his bat into his pad!! Given the same situations I would never have considered walking for the first and would have been pissed off if I was given out for the second!!(and I have been I walker all my life!)

  • saurabh somani on July 19, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    The sydney test threw up some other interesting insights into the way ponting thinks the game ought to be played, when he didn't walk - because in the previous ODI series in India, when Murali Kartik won the sixth match for india and admitted to not walking when he nicked one, this is what ponting had to say: "Murali's just admitted he nicked that one but it would've been nice if he'd walked."

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  • saurabh somani on July 19, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    The sydney test threw up some other interesting insights into the way ponting thinks the game ought to be played, when he didn't walk - because in the previous ODI series in India, when Murali Kartik won the sixth match for india and admitted to not walking when he nicked one, this is what ponting had to say: "Murali's just admitted he nicked that one but it would've been nice if he'd walked."

  • graeme on July 19, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    The example of Ponting in that Sydney test is really poor. The one he 'may' of tickled down leg side would never have been given out by any umpire as it was so feint and even on snicko it was almost nothing, no way could the batsman know if he really got a touch or not. The decision he got out on was a howler!! The ball went 45 degrees of his bat into his pad!! Given the same situations I would never have considered walking for the first and would have been pissed off if I was given out for the second!!(and I have been I walker all my life!)

  • Longmemory on July 19, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    I agree that there are all sorts of inexplicable contradictions. The very idea of "appealing" to an umpire to get a decision is unique to cricket. I cannot think of a single sport in which this occurs besides cricket. While I am not sure if Gilly was always the choir-boy he's made out to be, I do think there's a difference between not walking after nicking a ball while batting and appealing for a bat-pad or a caught-behind off the thigh pad when you're the keeper. A wicky is often unsighted and it all happens so fast that appealing is almost instinctive. I don't know that I'd hold appealing in real-time against any keeper and can't hold that against Gilly. Its the likes of Ponting - never walks ever, and yet throws a huff any time he cops a bad one or even an iffy one - who make me barf.

  • Andrew on July 19, 2008, 8:12 GMT

    As usual, the tired old whinge that Australians seem to be the only ones not to walk gets trotted out, in a futile attempt to portray not walking as "not in the spirit of the game". I believe that appealing when you know damn well that the batsmen is not out is also against the spirit of the game (and I'm certain that Tendulkar and Lara have indulged in that over the years, which shoots Michael Jeh's theory that "Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar on the other hand have consistently maintained their integrity over long careers" down in flames. The Australian attitude (whether you like it or not) is to leave it to the umpire. If everybody left it to the umpire, and kept their mouths shut when things didn't go their own way, there wouldn't be a problem.

  • Dilan on July 19, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    What about Sangakkara he is one of todays premier players who will walk if he nicks it whatever the situation

  • Swami on July 19, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    Lot of conflicts with Australians have happened because they would like to play the game in only their own framework of morality. Some opponent batsmen have refused to walk for borderline catches based on the word of Australian fielders and apparently those decisions must not be made by umpires according to Australian fielders. Its this warped sense of morality that splits the game. Either leave everything to umpires, or everything to conscience, integrity and honesty. Selective code of honesty will never find common acceptance across cultures.

  • Don Talon on July 19, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    The thing is that only the stars with already assured careers of top stats walk. Ask a guy who has an average of 20 after 20 test to walk and he'd ask you if you're crazy. Of course Lara ,Sachin ,and Gilchrist will walk because no matter if they score 00 or 100 they are certain to play the next 40 games.

  • sac on July 19, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    Looks like graeme who's been a walker all his life seems there are different degrees of being dismissed.. a faint nick is less out than a loud nick is it??? a funny thing morality when it comes down to how much likely it is to be cought by others..

  • Ben on July 19, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    Not really related, but Longmemory, football players appeal to the umpire all the time for decsions to go their way.

  • saurabh somani on July 19, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    @ graeme: which test were you watching mate? the one he 'may' have tickled??? he very clearly got an edge, and was aware of it. watch the replays of the test match, and you will see. i agree that the decision to give him out was a howler, but that is precisely michael's point: don't throw a fit when you get rough decision if you're happy to take your way all the decisions that go for you. @andrew: where in the article did you detect any hint of whinging about the australians being the only ones not to walk? and if the australian attitude is to 'leave it to the umpire' why do they always act like children deprived of candy whenever a decision goes against them? and michael makes a clear point on the existing dilemma in ethics for appealing and walking. lara and tendulkar are gentlemanly cricketers, something that ponting is far from being (even though his batting skill is probably right up there with them)