England v New Zealand, Champions Trophy, Group B, Jo'burg September 29, 2009

Run-out recall 'an easy decision'


The Spirit of Cricket occupied centre-stage at the Champions Trophy once again, and after sparing Paul Collingwood, who had been declared run out after wandering out of his crease, Daniel Vettori said it was an easy decision to make.

Andrew Strauss had made a similar decision in England's opening match against Sri Lanka by recalling Angelo Mathews, who had been stranded after a mid-pitch collision with Graham Onions, and Strauss praised Vettori's decision, which he described as the right one.

Vettori's gesture was more significant for two reasons. There was no case of obstruction in this instance, and Collingwood had no one to blame but himself for venturing out his crease. Secondly, it was a do-or-die match for New Zealand.

"It was a tough decision to make as a captain when your future in the tournament is on the line," Strauss said. "New Zealand were well within their rights to appeal. Obviously Colly was not going for a run, but he was hasty in leaving the crease."

It was an ironic turn of events since Collingwood was captaining England when New Zealand's Grant Elliott had been run out after a mid-pitch collision with Ryan Sidebottom at The Oval last year. The umpires were obliged to rule him out, but Collingwood's refusal to withdraw the appeal had infuriated Vettori and invited widespread criticism from the media.

The incident took place in the 11th over with England struggling at 27 for 3 on a bouncy pitch at the Wanderers. Collingwood had just survived a snorter from Kyle Mills, which flew off a length and whizzed past the batsman's nose on its way to Brendon McCullum.

It was the last ball of the over and Collingwood, taking it for granted that over had been called, had begun walking down the pitch. McCullum, always alert to such situations, under-armed the ball in a flash and the New Zealanders appealed.

Asad Rauf, the square-leg umpire, was already walking in and looking down, so he referred the decision to Aleem Dar, his colleague in the box. Confusion reigned as the umpire at the bowler's end, Daryl Harper, put his arm around Rauf's shoulders and took him away for a chat.

"It was one of those situations when we had a little time to think about it," Vettori said. "When it went to the third umpire, I deliberated with my team-mates, and the umpires. It was obvious that there was no intention of a run, Colly had wandered down the pitch, and it was a lot easier to call him back and get on with the game.

"According to the laws of the game, it was probably out, but of late we have discussed a lot about the spirit of the game."

Both the captains were of the opinion that Spirit of Cricket was becoming an issue cricketers were concerned with. "It's catching on,'' Strauss said.

"I think no one wants to come to a press conference and answer those tough questions," Vettori said, in jest at first. Turning serious, he added: "I think it is in the forefront on the lot of people's mind."

But Strauss found himself fronting up to questions about the spirit of the game after a visibly cramping Graeme Smith was disallowed a runner at SuperSport Park during his valiant 141. As it turned out, Strauss shouldn't have had to defend himself because the matter had been long taken out of the fielding captain's hands, and the call had been made by the umpires on the field.

In another all-too-similar incident back in December 2006, a Muttiah Muralitharan dismissal during the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Christchurch was also the subject of controversy.

Kumar Sangakkara had whipped a Shane Bond delivery down to fine leg for a single to bring up his century. Murali having touched down at the striker's end, turned around and left his crease to congratulate Sangakkara. McCullum was quick to whip off the bails as the throw came in, to run out Murali.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahul on September 30, 2009, 20:31 GMT

    I think a new rule should be made where it is mandatory for the umpires to have the final and only say whilst giving a decision. I got great respect for Vettori and Strauss for what they did, but I'm getting a bit tired of this "spirit of the game" fad these days. You're just putting the captains in a tough spot.

    When players don't get into an argument, doesn't the umpire always intervene to maintain the spirit? Why not just let them argue, you know, since they are the one's in-charge of the spirit of the game?

    If an umpire sees an "unfair" appeal, he can turn the appeal down and give the captain the reason for it. THEY should be laying dow the law - not the captains.

    Run-outs = Replay Stumpings = Replay Close catches = Replay LBW's = Experimented with replays - thankfully sanity has prevailed Spirit of the game = Captains Caught-behind = Umpire! (unless it's a low catch, then replay!) Bowled = Ahem..

    Get what I'm trying to say? Might as well start using machines instead of umpires

  • Rash on September 30, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    @ SHANTIRATNAM: Let me correct you here. The umpire cannot give a player out unless appealed by the fielding team. So in the Spirit of the game (as Colly was not going for a run), Vettori took the appeal back and so the umpire couldn't give him out as such. If it is the case as you said, you might be knowing that handling the ball can be given out, but even then batsmen do hand the ball to the fielder many times. the fielder doesn't appeal in spirit of game and thats why the batsman is not out. Remember this is Gentlemen's game. Great going Strauss and Vettori...

  • Anthony on September 30, 2009, 7:39 GMT

    The decision by Vettori to allow Collingwood to continue batting was admirable, in the context of the importance of a NZ win in order to qualify for the semi-final. It was an example on how the game should be played. However, this incident needs to be compared with that of the Murali dismissal when he walked out of his crease to congratulate Sangakkara on Sanga reaching his century. In both cases, it is clear that Collingwood and Murali were not attempting a run. And in both cases, the inflicting player was McCullum. Besides his admirable explosive batting and competitiveness, McCullum tends to resort to apparent subterfuge and desperate measures in order to compensate for his team's mediocrity. There are better ways of getting an opposing batsman out!

  • Craig on September 30, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    I thought that the umpire calling "over" and walking off means that it is over!! Therefore Vettori's decision is the right one and shouldn't have got to that situation anyway. And c'mon guys - even the ICC backed Strauss's decision. You can't get a runner becuase you are tired. Nevertheless he was also caught and not "run out". You can't blame Strauss because Smith isn't fully conditioned to play.

  • abdul on September 30, 2009, 7:05 GMT

    weldone Deniel, Its really like a gentelman's attitude in the feild. I m really impressed specially because of the importance of the match for Kiwis, and more importantly it was Colly (who dint allow G Alliot last year to resume the innings). I hope the things like this will help the cricket a lot.

  • Dieter on September 30, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    No way Strauss would have re-called anyone had he been in the same situation. I know he did it with Angelo Mathews earlier in the tournament, but had Englands future in the tournament depended on it, he would have sent the player packing. Afterall, it would have been the players own fault (like Collingwood admitted), just like cramping is also your own fault.... Hats off to Vettori, the ideal cricketing sportsman!

  • Sebastian on September 30, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    Guess what! I'm a PE teacher and at school it's common practice to first teach students the rules and then let them get on with it themselves. It's considered to be a crucial part of growing up to be able to negotiate and arrive at a result that suits both parties without somebody looking over you all the time and telling you what's right and what's not. Of course there are lots of situations where umpires are indispensable but isn't it great to see that sometimes you don't need them?

  • Sharad on September 30, 2009, 6:33 GMT

    Zthang, praise Vettori much as you want but don't take objection with Mccullum. A wicket-keeper's job and instinct tell him to just whip the bails off and appeal, whatever the situation. Given some time to reflect on that, I'm sure he'd also keep up the Spirit of Cricket.

  • Stephen on September 30, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    Vettori would have been crucified if New Zealand had lost that match after letting collingwood off the hook. He showed he is a great person, as well as a great player. Mccullum did as anyone would do in the situation, he reacted straight away. I think he did nothing wrong, and Vettori showed himself well, I am proud to say he comes from my country. Good Luck boys!

  • chandana on September 30, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    Cant imagine why there was such a hullabaloo when at the moment Bruce Willis called over the ball was dead. In fact in side on tv you can see Rauf walking to the stumps head down BEFORE the wicket is broken. In straight on tv Harper has called over before he pauses and stands to attention as the wicket is broken. If at all the fault is with Rauf for calling the 3rd ump, but then nowadays they go to TV even when a crow flies by!!! It just shows the alarming deterioration of umpiring in the highly commercial era. Dickie Bird or Sheppard would have just said "NOT OUT BOYS - RIGHT HAND". To think that New Zealand come smelling of roses after all this is funny and sad. Keeper Mac has claimed a few NOT OUT outs in his time, Murali being just one. Wonder why this new found SPIRIT OF CRICKET was not practiced in 2006!!! The win at any cost mentality is the reason for such cases as everyone wants to get that 1% advantage over their rival be it unfair or downright cheating. Cheers Chandana SL

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