Cricinfo XI December 14, 2006

Within the laws but against the spirit

Cricinfo looks back at other incidents that have stretched the spirit of the game

Muttiah Muralitharan's run out against New Zealand at Christchurch sparked a debate about where to draw the line between sporting and unsporting dismissals. This week Cricinfo looks back at other incidents that have stretched the spirit of the game.



Percy Fender had trouble with the London Underground and wasn't allowed to resume his innings © The Cricketer
Sammy Jones England v Australia 1882
An unsporting act from a man who was no stranger to stretching the laws to breaking point. After Sammy Jones completed a single, thinking the ball was dead, he walked down the pitch to do some gardening and Grace, who had had the ball returned to him as he was bowling, threw down the stumps at the striker's end and Jones was given out. The Australians were livid and Grace's action backfired in that it so angered Fred Spofforth that he ripped through England's second innings with 7 for 44 to give Australia a seven-run victory.

Arthur Heygate Somerset v Sussex, 1919
Arthur Heygate had played a few games for Sussex before World War One, but severe player shortages led to his recall for a couple of games in 1919. At Taunton, so crippled was he by rheumatism that he had taken no part in the match, and as the game reached a conclusion he had changed. Sussex's ninth wicket fell with the scores tied, and so Heygate, still in his ordinary clothes, padded up and he slowly and painfully hobbled out to the middle. Before he had reached the wicket, however, Somerset appealed and the umpires took off the bails and declared the game a tie. No law regarding a player being timed out existed at the time, and so Heygate was listed as absent. The row rumbled on for days before MCC ruled in favour of the umpires' decision.

Percy Fender Surrey v Leicestershire, 1921
Like Grace, Percy Fender was not averse to bending the laws. In 1921, Surrey, who were in hot pursuit of Middlesex at the top of the Championship. At the end of the second day of their final game at The Oval, Thomas Sidwell was not out on 4. However, the next morning Sidwell got hopelessly lost on the London Underground en route from his hotel to the ground, and so was unable to resume his innings. When he finally arrived at The Oval, Fender discussed his situation with the umpires and it was agreed that as he was not absent because of injury or illness, he could not resume his innings. Surrey won by 88 runs but Middlesex won the title. Five years to the day later, Sidwell got his revenge when he hammered a career-best 105 off Surrey at the same ground.

Bill Brown Australia v India, 1946-47
One of the more famous incidents, and spawned the phrase "Mankadded." In an early tour match at the SCG, Mankad had warned Australian opener Bill Brown not to back up too far, and when that advice was ignored, had run him out. Opinion was divided as to the fairness of his action. But a month later in the first Test on the same ground, Mankad again ran out Brown, this time with no warning. Brown was livid, but Don Bradman, Australia's captain, calmed the situation by defending the action.

Alvin Kallicharran West Indies v England 1973-74
As Bernard Julien played the last ball of the day from Derek Underwood, the players turned towards the pavilion and Alan Knott, the wicketkeeper, flicked the bails off. However, Tony Greig, who was fielding at silly point, noticed that Alvin Kallicharran, the non-striker who was on 142, was heading off and threw down the stumps at the bowler's end. With no-one really sure what was happening, Greig appealed and umpire Douglas Sang Hu gave Kallicharran out. Many of the crowd had left and were unaware what had happened, but as the evening went on it became clear this was a major incident in the making. Common sense prevailed and the managers agreed that Kallicharran would be reinstated. He went on to score 158, but Greig's love-hate relationship with Caribbean crowds had been established. (Click here for a Rewind on this incident)



Rob Bailey is stunned after being given out against West Indies © Wisden Cricket Monthly
Andrew Hilditch Australia v Pakistan 1978-79
Hilditch was given out handled ball and became the only non-striker to have been given that decision. Hilditch picked up a wayward throw that had dribbled onto the pitch and handed the ball back to Sarfraz Nawaz who appealed and the umpire had to give Hilditch out. This fracas was quite possibly in retaliation for an equally unsavoury incident earlier in the day when Pakistan's No. 11 Sikander Bakht was run out by Alan Hurst at the bowler's end while backing up too far - the fourth such instance in Test cricket. Asif Iqbal, who played in the match, said: "I do not want to be associated with such incidents. There was no need for us to stoop so low as to appeal against Hilditch for handling the ball as a non-striker."

Rob Bailey West Indies v England, 1989-90
If ever an umpire was persuaded to change his mind by a player it was in Barbados when a ball from Curtly Ambrose appeared to flick Rob Bailey's thigh pad on its way through to Jeff Dujon. Lloyd Barker, the umpire, seemed to have turned down the appeal but Viv Richards, who was at first slip, came charging down the pitch roaring appeals and Barker belatedly, and to Bailey's undisguised dismay, raised his finger. Wisden described Richard's "finger-flapping appeal" as "at best undignified and unsightly. At worst, it was calculated gamesmanship". Wisden Cricket Monthly referred to his "orgasmic gesticulations". "When I looked at the TV replays he had clearly missed it ... my angle and position told me he had hit it," Richards later admitted, but he added that while had had appealed "long and loud", the umpire was to blame. "It was up to him to retain his composure and make his decision."

Dean Jones West Indies v Australia, 1990-91
The "run out" of Dean Jones was a cruel blow to Australia who faced a deficit of 221 runs. Jones was bowled by Courtney Walsh off a no-ball and, with the batsman unaware of the umpire's call, trudged back to the pavilion. Carl Hooper bounded in from slip, picked up the ball and threw down the middle stump and was promptly joined by all his team-mates who appealed for the run out. Despite his batting partner, Allan Border, trying to warn him of the impending danger, Jones couldn't get his bat down quick enough - and the square-leg umpire, Cumberbatch, gave him out. The laws, however, should have meant that Jones should not have been given out.



Imran Khan talks to Saleem Yousuf about his claimed catch against Ian Botham © Wisden Cricket Monthly
Hemulal Yadav Orissa v Tripura, 1997-98
Hemulal Yadav made no real impact on the game, but he did have the ignominy of being the first man to be dismissed "timed out". When Tripura lost their ninth wicket in a Ranji Trophy match, the umpires called for drinks. At the end of the three-minute break Yadav, his team's No. 11, made no attempt to resume and was sitting on the boundary edge chatting with his team manager. As the umpires returned to their positions the Orissa fielders appealed, and Yadav was given out to secure his place in history.

Christopher Mpofu Zimbabwe v New Zealand, 2005-06
Once again Brendan McCullum was the wicketkeeper, and once again Stephen Fleming, whose team had won the ICC's Spirit of Cricket award a few months earlier, was called on to back his team's actions. The incident was strikingly similar to the Muralitharan one - after a single, Christopher Mpofu trotted down the pitch to congratulate Blessing Mahwire on reaching his fifty and was run-out. Mpofu should have known better as he had been stumped by McCullum for a brace of 0s in the previous Test.

Ian Botham England v Pakistan 1987
One that got away. When Ian Botham nicked Wasim Akram down the leg side a tumbling Saleem Yousuf seemed to spill the ball but eagerly claimed the catch. Television replays clearly showed Yousuf dropping the ball and then picking it up off the ground with his body shielding the skulduggery from the umpire who, nevertheless, gave the correct decision. Botham left Yousuf and spectators in no doubt what he thought of the decision, prompting Yousuf to move, finger wagging, towards the batsman. Ken Palmer, the square-leg umpire, swiftly adopted a human shield role, while Imran Khan took Yousuf to one side and made clear what he thought of the incident. Wisden Cricket Monthly said it was "an atrocious act". "I was livid and called him a cheating little bastard," Botham said, adding that if he ever did it again he would "knock his head off". Palmer, who had stepped in quickly to separate Botham and Yousuf, made it clear he was unhappy with the appeal. At the end of the over Botham asked Imran Khan, Pakistan's captain, what he was going to do, and Imran replied had Botham not sworn then he would have insisted that Yousuf made an apology. "What was I supposed to say," Botham shrugged. "Hard luck old fruit, it bounced a few times?"

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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