June 26, 2003

Cork slams 'cheat' Hodge and 'pathetic' Lamb

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Dominic Cork, the Derbyshire captain, has claimed that there is a "culture of cheating" in the modern game which is threatening cricket's image.

Cork's outburst came after Derbyshire were eliminated from the Twenty20 Cup following their one-run defeat by Leicestershire on Tuesday. The match was steeped in controversy as Leicestershire's Brad Hodge appeared to have stepped over the boundary rope while taking a catch to dismiss Steve Selwood in the penultimate over. The umpires consulted Hodge and then upheld the decision. Derbyshire immediately lodged a protest, but the England & Wales Cricket Board declined to intervene.

"It's down to the win-at-all costs attitudes and blatant cheating which are making cricket more like football with every season, and which I hate," Cork fumed. "In football it's diving, shirt-pulling, conning refs and feigning injury. In cricket, it is claiming catches on the bounce, pretending that the ball hasn't gone over the rope and players standing their ground when they've thick-edged it to slip.

"Hundreds of people saw Hodge run several feet over the rope, and thousands more have now seen him doing it on television," Cork continued. "But when the umpire asked whether he had stayed inside the line he insisted that he had and he said the same to me, which is why I called him a cheat to his face. In fact [umpire] Roy Palmer immediately confirmed that it should have been six if Hodge had then run over the line but he had no alternative but to put the fielder on his word of honour.

"The problem is there's precious little honour in the game these days and I'm very disappointed that Leicestershire's captain, Phil DeFreitas, didn't intervene when it was so obvious what had happened."

Cork also slammed the "totally dismissive response" from the ECB's chief executive, Tim Lamb. "His attitude was pathetic," said Cork. "When interviewed he made it sound like we were naughty, squealing schoolboys rather than professionals raising a serious concern about the honesty and spirit of the game."

DeFreitas denied that Hodge had done anything untoward: "Brad took the catch and turned to celebrate with the crowd. Derbyshire are claiming he crossed the boundary rope but the ball was under his control and the catch had been completed."