County cricket September 22, 2013

Madsen wins first CMJ award for walking

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Wayne Madsen, the Derbyshire captain, has been awarded the inaugural Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Elite Award, created by MCC and the BBC to acknowledge exceptional sportsmanship, for walking during a crucial County Championship match.

The award is bound to reawaken the debate over whether "walking" is to be regarded as a preferable form of behaviour in the modern game or whether the MCC, by championing the issue, is in danger of pushing the Spirit of Cricket to a point where it risks alienating majority support.

Walking has been uncommon in all forms of cricket in England for half a century or more, yet in a display of double standards which has long been accepted as inevitable, a failure to walk still ensures a batsman who remains at the crease is treated to ritual abuse.

The issue came back into the public eye when England's Stuart Broad failed to walk for an obvious edge in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, his "sin" looking worse than it was as the ball deflected off the gloves of the wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin and was caught at first slip.

At Chesterfield, in July, chasing Yorkshire's first innings total of 617, Madsen feathered a ball from bowler Steve Patterson to the wicketkeeper.

With one lone appeal coming from the Yorkshire fielders, umpire Jeff Evans gave the Derbyshire captain not out, only for Madsen to walk back to the pavilion on his own accord. Saying that it was a matter of principle, Madsen went on to score a defiant 141 in the second innings, but his side still lost by an innings and 113 runs.

MCC president, Mike Griffith, said: "MCC is passionate about its role as Guardian of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket, and it is instances like Wayne Madsen walking when his Derbyshire side was in real trouble against Yorkshire, which set an example for everyone in the game to follow and must be encouraged."

The winners of the youth award were Alton CC under-13 girls' team who impressed the judges after lending their opposition players to field during a league match and also allowing some of the opposition to bat twice.

"Deciding on the winner of the Youth Award and the school beneficiary was simultaneously challenging and heartening," Griffith said. "We received so many wonderful examples of how the Spirit of Cricket is alive and kicking in the junior game at clubs and on school playing fields across the country. Congratulations to the Alton CC under-13 girls team who ultimately won the Youth Award. Their story really epitomises what the Spirit of Cricket means.

Broad was pilloried in sections of the media for dishonesty and his actions, in return, were passionately supported by other critics as well as the vast majority of those involved in the game who said decisions should be left to the umpires.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 24, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @legsidewide.

    Cricket is hardly the only sport where "unfair play" as you put it is encouraged. Footballers dive regularly in attempts to get other players booked, or to win a penalty. Rugby players will use just about any sneaky thing they can get away with to gain an edge in a game. Back on the cricket front it needs to be fair to all, players who claim catches knowing it bounced just in front of their hands or fielders who stop a boundary but touch the rope and no-one else notices. They don't get vilified like Broad did. A batsman only gets one chance in an innings so why should he throw away that chance so easily. On the other hand a bowler can have as many appeals as he likes. You don't see anyone having a go because they appeal for one that is clearly going down the leg side. On the Madsen front I disagree with what he did because he waited for the umpire to say not out just so that he could appear more sportsmanlike by then walking. All it would do is embarass the umpire

  • Rowayton on September 23, 2013, 21:20 GMT

    I will defend my position to a couple who have criticised me when I said Madsen showed dissent. As umpire, when there is an appeal for a catch, I wait a moment before making a decision to give the batsman a chance to walk. If he doesn't, then I make a decision and expect everybody to accept it. The article clearly said Madsen walked AFTER being given not out. To me, that's just showing off - look how virtuous I am. If you're going to walk, and I'm comfortable with that, do it immediately.

  • willsrustynuts on September 23, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    @ legsidewide

    Please don't attribute any of those things to me. I am saying remove the batsman from the equation and let the umpires rule if he is out or not, every time. The batsman should have no discussion with anyone. But it suits your argument to make my suggestion appear loony and left field. Well done.

    We have seen multiple examples in the last Ashes series alone of instances when the batsman has hit the ball but not known it (thought they hit the pad for example but Not Spot has shown an edge). Let the umpires do their job.

    PS 'Not Spot' is my term for a certain technology - can you guess which one?!

  • 200ondebut on September 23, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Good on yer Wayne. It is of course up to the individual whether they walk or not -neither being right or wrong. Until such time that Captains start calling back the batsmen that were clearly not out then I don't think there should be any negativity attached to those who chose to let the umpires make the decision. Like @njr1330 quite rightly points out, anyone who has played cricket knows when they have hit it, and like wise the fielding side know when they have got one going their way. No doubt njr1330 would have dropped himself if he didn't call them back?!

  • ste13 on September 23, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    It's sad to find so many comments criticising Madsen. Then, if most of people start stealing, we we will steal as well. Then, I do not understand people cindemning Armstrong. All he wanted was to win. Win at all costs - and I thought we are movimg away from barbarian times.

  • itsthewayuplay on September 23, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on September 22, 2013, 23:23 GMT. I have to respectfully disagree with you. The issue of the spirit of cricket is much wider than what Australia would have done and in fact the article is unfair in singling out Broad. On a more general note, whilst Masden's actions were encouraging and even more so at a junior level with Alton CC, the principle of fair play results in unequal competition between 2 teams if one those teams believes in walking and the other does not. I was never a win-at-all costs player and always followed the principles of fairplay but I was also fortunate that all my team-mates were of the same attitude. With so much more money in the game now increasing the stakes, and the Australians seemingly entrenched in their position of letting the umpire decide, in the future I hope we can see a solution where players give their all to win in a way that is within the rules and follows the spirit of the game.

  • wrenx on September 23, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @willsrustynuts Good to see you're against playing a game that is about batting, bowling and fielding better than the opposition, and backing one that is about convincing an umpire that you're right. Tell you what, let's get rid of the bats, balls and helmets, the white clothes and the 22 yards altogether. Let's just have podium with 3 umpires seated, and the opposing captains can come up for a spirited debate, after which the umpires can decide who wins.

  • tauranga on September 23, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Well done Wayne but.....what on earth is the Umpire's role in cricket to become?

  • wrenx on September 23, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    That line from "To Kill a Mockingbird" comes to mind. We could do with a lot more of Atticus Finch's attitude to the game. Just because the majority oppose walking doesn't make it fair or right. Good on Madsen for not playing like a cheat. Cricket seems to be the only modern sport that tries so hard to institutionalise unfair play. Broad is the most recent target, but he's by no means alone. In my opinion, anyone who stands their ground after knowingly hitting it is not playing fair. And for all those arguments about how "there's nothing in the laws" and how "umpires should make the call" are simply advocating a game which is no longer about playing better than the opposition, but about convincing the umpire that you're right.

  • DeckChairand6pack on September 23, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Great to see a Durban bloke receiving plaudits. Would he have behaved the same way if the match situation had been different? Possibly. Still, it's nice to see an example of honesty and fair play in the first class game.

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