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World Cup 2011

To walk or not to walk?

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 20, 2011

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Nathan McCullum took a stunning catch off Mahela Jayawardene but was denied a wicket, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, March 18, 2011
The catch that wasn't © Getty Images

Should batsmen walk when they know they're out? This World Cup has thrown up several incidents that have reignited the debate around walking, an issue that gained prominence in the 2003 World Cup semi-final between Australia and Sri Lanka where Adam Gilchrist walked back to the pavilion after an appeal for a catch against him had met with no response from the umpire.

Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, and Gilchrist's former team-mate, was in a similar situation against Pakistan on Saturday, where a caught-behind appeal against him had been turned down. Unlike Gilchrist, he stayed his ground. The decision was reviewed by Pakistan and he was adjudged out, but all along he knew he had nicked the ball.

"There were no doubts about the nick, I knew I hit it, but as always I wait for the umpire to give me out. That's the way I've always played the game," Ponting said.

The New Zealand-Sri Lanka game in Mumbai involved a controversial decision when what appeared to be clean, and a brilliantly taken, one-handed catch by Nathan McCullum off Mahela Jayawardene was ruled not out by the third umpire Amish Saheba as replays were possibly inconclusive. Jayawardene, once the catch was claimed, stayed his ground and ultimately got the decision in his favour.

"If I felt it was a clean catch, I would have walked," Jayawardene said. "It was a 50-50 thing and it was fair it went to the TV umpire."

However, "it depends upon the person," Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain for that game, said. "You look at Jacques Kallis. He asks the fielders if they caught it cleanly and he trusts the words of the fielders. You put it up to the batsman to make the decision and at the end of the day you just hope the technology is right and if the technology is not right, well then don't use it."

In India's game against West Indies in Chennai, Sachin Tendulkar, a century away from completing 100 international tons, walked when he inside-edged Ravi Rampaul to the wicketkeeper as Steve Davis, the umpire, shook his head. Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, was effusive in praising Tendulkar's decision to walk. "It shows the measure of the man," Sammy said. "He is a true gentleman. After 17,000 runs, he could walk. That was brilliant on the part of Sachin."

"It's nice to see people walking but that doesn't happen now I guess," Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, said. He added that despite the availability of technology, batsmen could still take a chance with the replays. "There is a system in place now so that you can't get away with it. I mean people still take chances and why not? Jayawardene took a chance and it went the other way."


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Posted by praveen on (March 23, 2011, 20:36 GMT)

sachin is never being a walker..

Posted by chithalka on (March 23, 2011, 6:52 GMT)

when a batsman nicks it and is caught and still waits for the umpires decision (he knows he kicked it and he knows he is out) how can you trust the fielders word that he took the catch clean !

Posted by Andrew on (March 23, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

What I think alot of people are missing is the fact the game HAS CHANGED significantly in the last couple of years, & the notion of the gentlemen's game was more valid in an era long ago - (Amateur). Since technology has been introduced, there have been a lot of instances where "catches" that would not of had any scrutiny other then a nod from the umpire to the batsmen have been overturned. It didn't matter one iota but I swear Cook knew he was caught during the Ashes by PONTING, but stood his ground because cameras are not good at picking up whether the ball has touched the ground or not. Much harder for cameras then a nick behind when viewed by a camera behind the stumps. As I said at the time Cook was right to stand his ground & LET the UMPIRE/UDRS decide but 5 yrs ago he would of been given out, so would Jayawerdne. I DON'T believe SRT can be labelled a walker - you have to do that EVERY time, he doesn't, no shame in that either!

Posted by Randika on (March 23, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

Sachin is a great batsman without a shade of doubt and also a very fine gentleman. But he is a non-walker. 20 years after starting his international career he has walked off a nick because he felt DRS will detect the edge (as the replays showed) and he will be made to look un-godlike. I respect his decision and hope that it will inspire more cricketers to walk. But the earlier case of Sachin on 49 against SA, Mahela against NZ and McCullum against SL were about taking the catch cleanly. Batsmen would always be unsure when it comes to low catches of that nature and it took many TV reviews to come to conclusions as well. On such a case the onus is on the umpire, not the batsmen. Clearly the batsman should not walk if the catch is doubtful as enough technology is available to ascertain the fact

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 5:45 GMT)

My thoughts on the UMPIRE decision review system, is that it should be left in the hands of the third umpire. IF he thinks that a decision needs to be reviewed let him radio the bowler's end umpire ('hang on a minute, reviewing that.'), make the review & then make the, possibly modified, decision. Then get on with the game. Take the decision to review out of the hands of the players (who are choosing to review in the hope of a change) and give it to the umpires to stop BLATANT mistakes. That is what the UDRS is for.

Posted by Vikrant on (March 22, 2011, 20:34 GMT)

I read all the comments.What's the harm if Sachin walks and Ponting doesn't. They have done enough in cricketing world. With due respect to all those who have written the comments my question to you is, Have you ever been that honest to your jobs? Sachin walked because he was sure, there was a nick. Ponting stayed because he wanted a confirmation for the same. Both are sticking to their realities. Why we dig graves in these cases. Once upon a time he walked.... That's the reason they are where they are and we are where we are...Grow up....

Posted by Amila on (March 22, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

@popcorn, Yo... what about Brendon not walking when Mahela took the catch? Though it was given out and Mahela's one was given not out, i think both had the right to review. Then just like not walking, anyone appealing for something that is not out is also not right. You have the new technology, so use it. Or don't use the technology at all.

Posted by Zekie on (March 22, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

I agree if we have technology use it. Only some players in cricket are genuinely honest, Brain Lara Adam Gilchrist and dhoni comes to minds. The australian generally do not walk. In Australia tour of the Caribbean in 1995 Steve Waugh claim a catch of lara than bounce on the turf also Ian healy stumped Lara with the ball out of his gloves and on the turf i can't forget these because lara was my favorite and i love to watch hin bat. Look at J Trott in the World cup 2011 against West Indies i personallly thought he did not know he tough the rope but the replay showed he brush it slightly with his shoulder, also i have seen catch taken on the half volley and becasue the fielders or keepers eyes are turned away to avoid an uneven bounce in their faces they unknowingly claimed the catch. So I like the technology and the DRS i know the Australian would not like it.

Posted by Michael Ponnudurai on (March 22, 2011, 12:51 GMT)

Sachin has walked for the first time. At a time when UDRS is in place you can expect this to happen that many batsmen who never walked in their careers would start walking the moment they know they have nicked. Few may still not walk if the nick was feather edge and if they think they could escape. I cannot remember regular and ready walkers except Gilchrist who did so even before the UDRS was in place. He was unparallelled

Posted by Siroson on (March 22, 2011, 10:43 GMT)

It is a big issue only when UDRS was not there, but it is there so opponent can review it. So no problem for me.

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