England v SL, Champions Trophy, Group B, Jo'burg September 25, 2009

Oval incident prompted Strauss to recall Mathews


Andrew Strauss's decision to recall Angelo Mathews after he had been run out at the Wanderers was, according to the England captain, influenced in part by a similar incident under Paul Collingwood's leadership last year. Mathews was run out in the 40th over of Sri Lanka's innings after pushing Graham Onions to leg and taking off for two. But as he turned for the second run, he collided with Onions and stopped as Matt Prior took off the bails.

Mathews hung around for a while, unhappy with the decision and gesticulated to no one in particular, as sections of the crowd booed. The England team got into a huddle and after Mathews was more than halfway back to the pavilion, Strauss spoke to the umpires and called him back, a move applauded immediately by a small crowd.

Mathews was dismissed a few balls later in any case, but the incident bore resemblance to when Grant Elliot of New Zealand collided with Ryan Sidebottom in an ODI at The Oval last year. Collingwood was captain then and didn't recall Elliott - though he regretted not doing so - and was subsequently lambasted in sections of the press.

And Strauss admitted that memories of the criticism prompted him make his decision tonight. "I didn't see it because I was watching the ball at the time," Strauss said. "I then had a chance to look at the replay and the umpires said: 'Well, it's upto you if you want to call him back.' My feelings on it were that it just didn't look right. I also thought he was going to get back for the two quite comfortably if he hadn't collided. I would certainly say that I don't think Graham Onions did anything wrong. There was no malice there at all. Other captains would be quite within their rights to not call him back. But I just felt...possibly having seen Colly castigated for doing it a couple of years ago, it probably wasn't the right thing to do."

Collingwood, who was the Man of the Match tonight, said he didn't get involved in the decision. "I tried to keep out of it, to be honest. I just left him to make his own decision. But Straussy was straight in there, had a look at the replay and said: 'We'll bring him back'," he said before adding, in jest, "I couldn't believe it!"

Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, also supported the notion that Onions' collision was unintentional. "It was an excellent gesture of sportsmanship and in the spirit of the game. It's all a matter of interpretation and it depends. It might've been an accident but at the end of the day the right thing was done."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • habib on September 27, 2009, 21:29 GMT

    nothing to say about this particular article. Enough said already, and well said. My post is actually about the group standings and run rate issue.Everyone is talking about that with Sri Lanka n South Africa having 2 points each after their maximum three games now,if New Zealand lose to England then Sri Lanka will qualify for the semis. How is it possible to say it at this stage.With this Run-Rate calculation criterion, there still is a chance that New Zealand lose to England nd still qualify for Semis ahead of Sri Lanka. What you fellows have to say about it ? New Zealnad score 300,say in 40 overs and England Chase it, say in 49th over. then New Zealand qualify for semis ,, isnt it ?

  • Sampath Shaminda on September 26, 2009, 22:21 GMT

    Great sportsmanship from Strauss. Strauss put good example for world cricket. Fans who thinks that Strauss shouldn't have called Mathews back are wrong... it does not matter weather Mathews gonna get run out or not??? If you look at the replay you 'll see clearly that Onions sees Mathews running towards him en didnt even try move a bit to side but kept running towards Mathews, after he bumped to Mathews he show's his football skills... hands in the air... I did nothing wrong... come on people we all know those tricks. I mean Onions doesnt even look at where the damn ball is.. all he does keep running towards Mathews. Im glad mathews got out.. if he had scored another 30 or 40 runs en England lose??? This match would have been the most controversial cricket math in the cricket history.. if know what I mean....

  • abinanthan on September 26, 2009, 12:53 GMT

    Hats off to Strauss for his gesture and to Mathews for recognizing that in an obvious manner. We should remember what he said; 'I also thought he was going to get back for the two quite comfortably if he hadn't collided.'. This sums up. Also if you carefully watch the video, Mathews collided with Onion almost immediately after turning for the second run hence having no chance of avoiding the collision. So is Onion as he was just running to cover the throw.

  • sushant on September 26, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    Well , I cant understand from where Ricky Ponting comes into it , IF you want to look at sportsmanship than ponting has more than ganguly . Ganguly was called agressive by indians & they criticize ponting for this . this is truly double standards shown by them. The whole world knows that Ganguly is fined most time by ICC match refrees . I think Ganguly should learn something from it rather than ponting.

    This incident reminded me of Gundappa Vishwanath who did same in the jubile test in 1980 & India went to lose that match but still it was a nice gesture from him.

  • Martin on September 26, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    It looked bad at first, but Onions was perfectly entitled to take his shortest line back to the stumps for a possible throw to the bowlers end. So Strauss's decision to recall Mathews was sportsmanlike or quixotic - take your pick. It was superb PR and, in hindsight, cost his side nothing! The question is, was Mathews right to accept it?

    If a batsmen fails to alter his running line to block a throw, he is criticized. Isn't this cheating? I've got a bottle of champagne for the first umpire that gives one out Obstructing the Field.

  • Russell on September 26, 2009, 9:28 GMT

    livinlovinnrockin writes: "I'd like to see tha aussies do something like that..." Adam Gilchrist, World Cup Semi Final, walks when given not out.... good enough???

  • Thanura on September 26, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    @ victortrumpet and karapincha, It was great sportmanship from Strauss. But it was also nice to see Mathews thanking Strauss when he was on his way to the pavilion after he got out caught behind.

  • K on September 26, 2009, 8:08 GMT

    victortrumpet writes: "but in what way was it great sportsmanship from Matthews?" I believe that, when called back to the crease by Strauss, Mathews thanked Strauss.

  • Rohit on September 26, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Every Indian hates Ricky... where did u get that from? He is a fabulous player.. absolutely joy to watch. Ponting and Martin were unbelievable that day.They had even thrashed India during the run-up.The previous Australian team (the one with Gilly, Hayden, Warnie and McGrath) were an absolute champion team.But whether its Pak or SA or WI or SL... everyone had issues with they way they conducted themselves. Now everyone in the world cant be wrong.. And if you think it was because they were thrashing everyone,WI of the late 70s and 80s were more devastating.. and no cricket playing country in the world disliked them. By your logic if India hates Ricky because he played one Richardesque innings.. then most teams should hate the great Richards as he would have played that quality innings all his life..definitely thats not the case. While i agree reference to Ricky is not relevant here, looks like there is more than one "transparent, small minded prejudiced" person commenting on this blog..

  • ahmed on September 26, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    nice to see strauss show the sportsmanship after what collingwood have done against new zealand. these days so much money is involved in the game that makes crieketers desparate to win rather than pride for the country. But straus have put an different example that should be follow by other cricketers as well.

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