July 15, 2013

Broad and the walking debate: a summary

Don't quite know who stands where on the whole saga? This primer will help

A brilliant, and brilliantly controversial, Test match has seem figures as diverse as Richard Dawkins and Piers Morgan having their say on batsmen not walking. The amount of opinion and argument has become overwhelming, so please find below a handy guide summarising the major debating positions on the matter.

The former professional cricketer
Broad was absolutely within his rights to stand there. That's what the umpires are for. Their job is to make the decisions; Broad's job is to score runs, take wickets and have a tantrum if the umpire's decisions don't go his way. The fact that the entire world could see he'd hit it just shows what a competitor he has become: at Test level, you have to take every advantage you can get. If Broad had brought a samurai sword to the wicket with him and decapitated Brad Haddin while Aleem Dar's back was turned, that would be fine too. If you can get away with it, good luck to you. It's just naïve to think that a professional cricketer shouldn't murder an opponent in the heat of an Ashes battle if he can do so without getting caught.

The old generation of supporters
Broad is an absolute disgrace and should never play for England again. In fact, he should be hanged. And then told he will never play for England again. I remember watching BP "Kipper" Mantelpiece of Warwickshire and England edge one behind in the 1784 Ashes series and his upper lip quivered for perhaps a quarter of a second before he walked off. Well, there was hell to pay, I can tell you: his own captain had Kipper shot for dissent, and quite right too. It just shows the way this country's gone to the dogs that they even need to have umpires at all, in fact. Whatever happened to taking responsibility for your own actions? Polly bloody Toynbee, that's what.

The England player
Well, obviously Broady will be looking to take the positives from the situation, which is to say that we as a team very much so win together, lose together, and where possible cheat together. We can't control what goes on with the umpires, we can only control making things as difficult for them as we possibly can, and really it isn't our concern what they are going to do about that. Look, we don't want to talk about what happened yesterday. We want to not talk about what is going to happen tomorrow. In fact, we really don't want to have to talk about anything at all (apart from Swanny, obviously) but obviously we are very much focused on the money that comes from being in the media endorsing things and going on the radio with Vaughany and that, so in summary we didn't actually see what Broady did or didn't do but we back him 125%.

The broadsheet chief sportswriter
Something was won, and yet something was also lost. Like Achilles grieving over the body of Patroclus, Stuart Broad's tragic abnegation of the essential irreducible moral goodness of what sport is, or could be, or might once have been, inspired him into bitter heroic deeds that came not from the vagaries of DRS or the noble savage yawp of that fine manly cricketer Brad Haddin but something at once deeper and more profound and yet at once gossamer and perhaps even merely conceptual: the spirit of cricket. And I've got 1500 words about the golf due by half five so this will have to do.

The spirit of cricket (i.e. gin) and the Ashes from Grace to Pietersen in WG Grace Ate My Pedalo, here