January 6, 2011

Sydney Test 2010-11

The Cook, the Cheat, His Life and Their Umpire

Alan Tyers and Jarrod Kimber
Ian Bell celebrates his century, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2011
“Erm, to my country I do hereby pledge my troth by kissing this here thingy, or something”  © Getty Images
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Alan Tyers writes Even by their own high standards, our Australian friends have excelled themselves in their pet areas of hypocrisy and whining today after the Bell and Cook incidents. You expect a lot of rabid one-eyed rubbish from their Channel Nine commentators, but the fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground ought to know better. The booing of Alastair Cook was crazy – it’s hardly his fault that Phil Hughes tried to claim a non-catch. Performance of the day definitely went to Shane Warne for saying, “There is no way Hughes has claimed that” as the player leapt triumphantly into the air with his arms aloft. It bounced. They booed. Seems unfair, but whatever.

Ian Bell was, admittedly, a bit more of a grey area. But Bell is guileless, in the way that a glass of tap water is guileless, and if he says, “Erm, er, I sorta kinda, erm, well, obviously, I wasn’t sure if I hit it,” then we should trust his words, even if he doesn’t quite know what he is saying.

Jarrod Kimber writes According to Cook, Hughes said he wasn’t sure. That said, I’d trust Alan “Beefy” Tyers, who was probably cramped up in a dungeon of some archaic building, instead of the players involved. The bigger issue here is Ian Bell trying to steal the last bit of Australia. We get that the English team, by whatever fluke of nature, is better than Australia, but to steal our non-walking stance, that’s a low blow. There was a time when not walking was as Australian as Neighbours. Now it seems to be as English as Home and Away. This short of attack on Australianness sickens me. Ian Bell should be suspended, like Ricky Ponting was.

Alan replies It's a reflection on the decency of Alastair Cook - and that England are so far ahead they can afford to be magnanimous - that he would offer Hughes a face-saving opt-out. Hughes wasn't sure when he caught it (or rather, he was sure he hadn't caught it), but he went along with his team-mates and tried to pull a fast one. Anyway, it's academic now. As for Bell not walking and Australia complaining, I agree. Talk about stealing their schtick. The only way to top this is for Andrew Strauss to drink 53 beers on the flight home.

Jarrod replies Let’s not mention Cook. I spend all my time with Cook. I can’t get away from him. I know every detail of his face and nurdle off the pads. I’ve seen more of Cook than I’ve seen of my wife, family and friends. When I close my eyes I dream about Cook. And not even in a good way.

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Posted by conkie on (February 6, 2011, 1:02 GMT)

long time no speak...would love to hear from you..bring back old days

Posted by Rahul on (January 8, 2011, 7:51 GMT)

Nice! Good one!

Posted by Siddey on (January 7, 2011, 5:41 GMT)

Alan Tyers is a self-confessed arm chair cricketer - to suggest that Bell didn't know if he hit it is truly naive.

Posted by JackieL on (January 7, 2011, 3:20 GMT)

Very funny. But both Hughes and Bell have been turned over unnecessarily as butts of the media. Hughes and the Aussies never even claimed the catch even though Hughes hesitated then celebrated. It was clear that Bell didn't think he hit it as he didn't even turn his head. He even mouthed the sentiments to Prior with a puzzled look. Hotspot proved him right. And Dar changed his own mind. The noise heard is now challenged by scientists on the BBC 606 comment board website who say the sound could have been made by the closeness of the ball passing the bat without hitting it. Compression of the air waves could create a sound. When contact is made heat/light leaves a trace in the infra-red spectrum. No trace. No contact. Dar provided with no evidence of trace from Hotspot gave the benefit of the doubt to Bell who felt nothing on his bat. No contact. No cheat. No Australian.

Posted by Paul on (January 7, 2011, 2:28 GMT)

Did Bell hit it? I walked and caught the channel nine reaction after the event. From the replays I saw there was no hot spot but there was a noise on snicko. I just thought to myself if this was an aussie batter rather than saying, "he knew he hit it", and "he called for the review just to see if he could get away with one" (WTF? if he thought he hit it he def would not review), they would have been saying, "well snicko can show bat hitting pad or ground, or even the handle making a noise", "no spot on hot spot" etc etc.

Posted by Ajay on (January 6, 2011, 17:30 GMT)

I am not too surprised with the reaction of the Aussie fans. With a 3-1 defeat staring in the face, many a fan can lose sight of logic and look for desperate measures to save grace. My surprise has been some of the Aussie commentators - Mark Taylor, et al. They just wouldn't let go. Mark Taylor even went on to come up with some new rules related to referrals after Bell's out decision was reversed by Aleem Dar. Biases in commentary can make it exciting at times, but whining on and on during commentary is a torture for the listener. Aussies in the current form may be suspect against Bangladesh as well. That is where they need to focus on, not cling onto umpiring decisions and referrals

Posted by tony on (January 6, 2011, 16:32 GMT)

sir, i seem to remember clarke not walking when he edged in the first test and the hot spot did not show any edge however the snicco did.

Posted by Arnold on (January 6, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

May be Bell should just issue an apology on twitter.. thats quite Australian

Posted by Auchi, Sri Lanka on (January 6, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

Bravo Cook and Tyers! good try, Kimber! Entertaining debate, not nonsensical and very well written.

Posted by Patrick Clarke on (January 6, 2011, 13:11 GMT)

Hands up anyone who agrees that Mitchell Johnson is a better batsman than Phil Hughes. Maybe they should swap positions in the Australian batting order. Hughes bats like a tailender. I said that when I saw him bat - admittedly briefly, but isn't that always the case with him(?) - for Hampshire last season. Johnson may have got a duck today but at least he didn't participate in another inept run-out.

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