August 21, 2010

Spirit now and spirit then

Sambit Bal

For those still mulling over the spirit of the cricket and the severity of Suraj Randiv's crime in denying Virender Sehwag a hundred, here's a little story narrated with glee by Bishen Singh Bedi during his memorial lecture for the late Dilip Sardesai in Mumbai.

Neither Bedi nor Sardesai quite distinguished themselves as athletes and the only person more terrified than Sardesai when a catch went up in air anywhere near him was the bowler. Sardesai usually lounged about in the mid-on area, and on Australian grounds this could often be a real ordeal because the ball took that longer to reach the boundary and the chase had to be maintained. The straight boundaries at Adelaide were the worst. They are still the longest, but these days the rope is a few metres in. Those days, you had to chase the ball right down the picket fences.

Once after an Australian batsman had driven the ball past mid-on, Sardesai pursued the ball for such an eternity that the batsmen had time to turn for the fifth run. And then, with a flourish and agility his team-mates had never suspected of him, he dived forward to push the ball to the fence to restrict the batsmen to four.

The story raised the biggest laugh that evening.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Steve on (September 3, 2010, 4:48 GMT)

Was Randivs action any less that that of Hoggard bowling well wide of the off stump when Adam Gilchrist was attempting the world record for the fastest test hunderd?

Posted by Kalp Shah on (September 1, 2010, 4:31 GMT)

india should bring back dravid to the middle order and replace yuvraj

Posted by Nikhil on (August 29, 2010, 12:14 GMT)

Sambit, I loved Bedi story.

I am Indian and I feel what Randiv did is all part of the game these days, good gamesmanship.

Posted by memoriesofpast on (August 25, 2010, 7:57 GMT)

What Sardesai did was most wise-better let the ball go to the fence rather than allowing the batsman to run 5 or more. Captain Bishen Bedi had gone to the extent of declaring Indian batting innings because he wanted to save his bowlers Chandra, Prasanna, Venkat from getting retired hurt while batting against the West Indian pace attack. Bishen Bedi only told Pakistani spinners TAusef Ahmed and Qasim Iqbal how to bowl to the Indian batsmen in the 1987 Bangalore test between India and Pakistan, the test that India lost and gave Pakistan its first test series win against India in India. Bedi instead should have advised Indian spinners but did not. In a test in 1981 at perth, Aus bowler cum metallic bat user Dennis Lillee had deliberately come in the running path of batsman Javed Miandad and tried to kick him. In 2008 test at Delhi, Aus Simon Katich had tried to do the same against batsman Gautam Gambhir-for which Gambhir was given a one match ban

Posted by anu on (August 25, 2010, 7:30 GMT)

1996 World Cup match at Mumbai between India and Aus, off spinner Mark Waugh got out Sachin on his score of 90 by having him stumped on a wide ball delivered at the last moment-that is intelligent bowling as he saw Sachin coming out of his crease. Again 1996 World Cup semifinals at kolkatta between India and Srilanka, Sachin had made 65 when left arm spinner Sanath Jayasuriya bowling round the wicket pitched a delivery wide outside the legstump and Sachin was stumped by wicket keeper Kaluwitharna-Srilanka went to the finals.In both matches India got a run for the wide and the only way of getting out on a no-ball or wide is either a run-out or a stumping-thats the rule. Playing in the spirit of the game-this issue was firt raised by Australian captain Bill Woodfull after that loss of Ashes series of 1932-33 against English team lead by Douglas Jardine. The deliveries that Harold, Voce and Larwood bowled were within the rules of the game. Match loss made Aussies raise this issue.

Posted by Srikar on (August 25, 2010, 3:21 GMT)

@vijaykumar...Think ahead..5 runs he gave to prevent Amla from getting strike...Its just like a chess move..when you sacrifice a knight to get the queen...

@Niro...I agree with you that Sehwag shoudnt cry..but Amla case v/s Randiv Case...common..giving a boundary to prevent Amla from getting the strike is ofcourse a cricketing move..no matter he kicked it or threw it or misfielded it..it was an innovative move at that point of time..and it was instantanious..not planned before..

Randiv's case was well planned and deliberate enough to make sure he doesnt acieve a feat..a "cheap" move!!

Posted by Ishan on (August 24, 2010, 12:18 GMT)

When Sanath jayasuriya was on 189. He charged down the track adn Ganguly bowled a Wide to prevent it and Jayasuriya stumped. So What about that? :-)

Posted by aks on (August 24, 2010, 7:09 GMT)

what would have happen if he charged down the track and got stuped out? will it be Viru 99 out and Indai win OR Viru 99* India win.

Posted by wb on (August 24, 2010, 6:11 GMT)

1st February 1981- the last ball of the 3rd one dayer at MCG between Australia and New Zealand,Aus Captain Greg Chappell asks his brother Trevor Chappell to deliver an underarm ball as the Kiwi batsman cannot hit that for six and tie the match. Trevor executes that plan to perfection. Once again issue of playing in the spirit of the game is raised but none of the Chappell brothers-Trevor or Greg apologise and none of them is banned for a match or a fine or punished.So dont punish Randiv.Just before the delivery was to be bowled-the fielder Denniss Lillee had not taken his fielding position and Aus had too many fielders outside restriction line.Greg Chappell's in the Australian batting innings was clearly out on 90 -his catch was cleanly taken by Martin snedden but Chappell refused to believe the fielder and went on to bat till Aus had reached a respectable total. This shows from where the Lankan team may have learnt to do such things.

Posted by Roy on (August 24, 2010, 0:57 GMT)

Just shows what a poor sportsman DILSHAN really is!!!! They should've both been banned for the one game. Of course it was deliberate. Randiv would not have over-stepped had Virender been on 89 runs instead of 99. Or even if Viru was batting with 93 and the scores level, as a six would've still not taken him to a century. But the days are long gone when cricket was a gentleman's game. Wonder how Dilshan would've felt if he was the batsman, rather than Sehwag.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sambit Bal
Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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