October 3, 2013

Not walking when you nick it? That's cheating

You have no choice but to walk when you're caught at cover. It ought to be the same if you feather it to slip
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Monday was a very English sort of day. The shared laughter of lunches and dinners; a judgemental fourth estate putting down its marker and an ongoing whisper of the Spirit of the Game. The Cricket Writers Club held its annual lunch and awarded gongs to Wayne Madsen, the County Championship Cricketer of the Year, and Ben Stokes, Young Cricketer of the Year. Stokes made a real noise in Durham's title-breaking match against Yorkshire at Scarborough with a lively hundred and some properly fast bowling. Even Geoffrey Boycott admitted he could play a bit. The consequence of Stokes' exciting summer is a place in the touring party to Australia. One supposes there are things more exciting for a 22-year-old but they have bypassed most of us. There is a freshness to his cricket that evokes a bit of Botham in his youth, but whisper it, for the moniker is hard to handle.

Madsen comes from fine South African stock. His uncle Trevor was a gifted left-hand batsman for Natal in the days when Mike Procter and Vintcent van der Bijl knocked over all comers on greentops at Kingsmead. Trevor could also play hockey, like a genius they used to say, but I cannot comment from first hand. He kept wicket too and had the most natural hands. Another uncle was Henry Fotheringham, who played in that same Natal side before he moved to the Transvaal and became a part of the mean machine that was so ruthlessly led by Clive Rice. (At its best, the team read: Jimmy Cook, Fotheringam, Alvin Kallicharran, Graeme Pollock, Rice, Kevin McKenzie, Ray Jennings, Alan Kourie, Sylvester Clarke, van der Bijl and Rupert Hanley. Perhaps the greatest provincial / state / county team ever.) In the Natal days Fotheringham played for the same club side as Procter, Berea Rovers, along with a couple of lesser lights from the first-class scene. Cricket in South Africa was immensely strong during the apartheid years.

Wayne Madsen is making a life in England with Derbyshire, the team he has led with inspirational and courageous performances of his own. Relegation will have hurt him deeply. There will be little consolation in the CMJ Sprit of Cricket award, which he received for walking in a match against Yorkshire. If you are a "walker", it is not something you see as heroic. It is just how it is. You nick it and go. Ask Adam Gilchrist and Brian Lara. Gilchrist was challenged by his Australian team-mates, who felt they were playing at a disadvantage if a key player was giving himself out - rather than leaving the decision with the umpire, which is the Australian way. Gilchrist decided to make the decision himself and this led him to become more conscious, analytical and suspicious of something he had long considered right and normal.

We carelessly say that not walking is fine, as long as you accept the umpire's decision without rancour. We add that we are too far down the road to turn back. But maybe, as cameras expose the game ever more forensically, reality will take hold. If a batsman edges the ball and stands, he is cheating. (At the very least, he is taking the main chance in an underhand way.) I know, I hear the howls of laughter already. But this is a fact. Just as when he hits it to cover and walks, so he edges to the wicketkeeper and stays! This act shows a disrespect for both sets of players, the umpire, and the game. Pretty much always, batsmen know whether or not they have hit the ball, and if they have, well, they are out. In this example of dismissal, there would be no need for the umpire, or for TV, or for the third umpire and DRS. No need!

There will be a rage against this view because we have been brainwashed by the idea that the umpire is there to make the decision. Indeed he is, but not if the cricketer has made it for him. When Tony Greig captained England he told his team - most of whom walked in county cricket because the umpires knew you well enough to nail you next time round - to stay put in Test matches, otherwise the opposition began at an advantage. You could hardly blame him. But from this attitude comes a list of corollaries, not least that deception is okay and therefore can be applied to other aspects of the game, such as claiming catches that are taken on the bounce, appealing when you know the opponent is not out and so on. How can this action have survived without debate or sanction? Former players look on from commentary boxes, discuss the pictures set before them and tut-tut at proven nicks that avoid the umpire's eye and ear. Lucky boy, we say, knowingly. Because people in glass houses must not throw stones.

From not walking comes a list of corollaries, not least that deception is okay and therefore can be applied to other aspects of the game, such as claiming catches that are taken on the bounce, appealing when you know the opponent is not out and so on

Ultimately, the game belongs to the players. Some are humiliated when television shows them foul, others simply admonished for a daft moment. But much of the confusion in the DRS comes from dishonesty and much of the insecurity, and thus inconsistency, in umpiring comes from the same. If the on-field umpire is to be saved, the players will have to take a lead. Stop grumbling about the fellows in white coats, gentlemen, and have a look in the mirror.

Now back to Monday in England. After lunch with the cricket writers was dinner with Wisden in the Long Room at Lord's. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the incomparable Almanack - that small, stubby book of record that is wrapped each year in its yellow jacket, read by magnifying glass and revered by collectors - the MCC generously put on a bit of a bash. There are 42 living Honorary Life Members of the MCC who have, at one time or another, been named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year. Twenty-nine of them were at Lord's and were individually introduced, to thunderous applause from members and guests alike.

The room is a wondrous place for dinner, candlelit and atmospheric. Around the 200 diners hung the ghosts of the game - pictures of WG, CB Fry, Bradman and Jardine, Hutton and Miller, among other magnificent works of art. The MCC has a fine collection, both classical and contemporary. The one of Viv Richards in the library is almost scary, just as it should be.

Two heroes of 1963 at Lord's, Ted Dexter and Brian Close, had a natter. Alas, the third hero, Colin Cowdrey, who came to the crease against Wes Hall to save the game with his broken arm in plaster, has long left us for greater things. Peter Parfitt talked gloriously of Denis Compton. Derek Underwood spoke of his time as president when he met the Queen and told her that making a hundred at Lord's had always been his ambition. "You're dreaming," replied Her Majesty.

Darren Gough brought the room to its knees with a tale of his Strictly Come Dancing days and the consequences of victory. Graham Gooch thanked Geoffrey Boycott, Micky Stewart and Doug Insole for the influence they had had on his career. Insole acknowledged that he had played the first Test match among those in the room, back in 1950 against West Indies at Trent Bridge. Sonny Ramadhin got him twice in the match. Second innings stumped by Clyde Walcott. I don't suppose he walked for that but had he nicked it, well, of course he would, wouldn't he? It had been a very English sort of a day.

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vwal1966 on October 7, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Thank you Mr Nicholas for a thoughtful article.

    If a soccer player knowing handles the ball but waits to see if the ref spots it and if not plays on and scores a goal, that is cheating. Why is a batsman hitting the ball and waiting to see if the umpire spots it, not cheating?

    Surely in both cases the player seeks to deceive the official to gain an unfair advantage, that must be cheating in anyone's book.

  • BishenNambiar on October 5, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    I'm not sure that you are making a valid point when you say - "You have no choice but to walk when you're caught at cover. It ought to be the same if you feather it to slip"

    Compare this to football - If a striker scores a goal knowing that he is offside, but the referee makes no such call, would you expect him to put his hand up and say that goal should be discounted? Would you consider it to be cheating if he didn't? This is very similar to nicking the ball because there will be instances of strikers scoring legitimate goals, but only to find the offside flag being raised - sometimes the rub off the green goes your way and sometimes it doesn't.

    When you get caught at cover, there is no question of any 'rub of the green'. It will simply always be given out - there is no real decision to be made. The sequences for events speak for themselves - or Res Ipsa Loquitur as lawyer sometimes say! This issue we are discussing here only comes up when a real decision has to, in fact, be made.

  • on October 5, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    walking is a players choice, when they hit to extra cover they can still wait for the umpire to give them out. you are out when the umpire says you are. the rules applied by the umpire, whether correctly or not, are what players are obliged by. if a player is incorrectly give n out or not out it is technically the umpires mistake

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on October 5, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    "Not walking when you nick it? That's cheating..." - well getting your marching orders when well set off a no ball when there's absolutely no contact between bat and ball and it's doubtful whether a clean catch was even taken is nothing short of disgraceful and humiliating. Umpiring and technology is what needs to change, not just players mindsets.

  • on October 5, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Mark ,I appreciate your insight .well written.

  • Mr.Lock on October 4, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    Mark, you are being ridiculous. What if the shoe is onthe other foot, what if a batsman is adjudged out when he didn't nick it, should he stand there and demand umpire to change his decision since he has always walked when he nicked? It all evens out in the end. That is why I am in favor of DRS to sort out bad decisions.

  • on October 4, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    Surely it's against the spirit of the game to call someone a liar, right?

    So if I tell the umpire that I missed it, and he still gives me out, then the umpire is the one bringing the game into disrepute...

  • shot274 on October 4, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Excellent article. You cannot reason this one out. There are as many reasons for a batsman to walk as not to. The reason why some dont rob a bank is for fear of prison ; others because its just not right! I am with the latter and thus agree with Mark Nicholas. It has nothing to do with a world cup final or a club game. If you think its right you walk. What a pity so few do!

  • on October 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    if the on field players know everything about what has happened in the field of play be it a nick or a wide or a no ball then y do u need umpires...??? you can just let the on field players to do the umpiring and play mutually beneficially... umpires are there for a reason... if the umpire gives u out when u know you havent nicked it and still have to walk off then you have all the right to stay back when you know you have nicked one and been given not out... let the umpires make the decision...

  • dejfrith on October 4, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Caught at cover and you walk? Really? I remember when a certain M.Vaughan declined to accept fieldsman Justin Langer's word for it in an Ashes Test in Australia and survived when the referral showed a rather blurred image.

  • vwal1966 on October 7, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Thank you Mr Nicholas for a thoughtful article.

    If a soccer player knowing handles the ball but waits to see if the ref spots it and if not plays on and scores a goal, that is cheating. Why is a batsman hitting the ball and waiting to see if the umpire spots it, not cheating?

    Surely in both cases the player seeks to deceive the official to gain an unfair advantage, that must be cheating in anyone's book.

  • BishenNambiar on October 5, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    I'm not sure that you are making a valid point when you say - "You have no choice but to walk when you're caught at cover. It ought to be the same if you feather it to slip"

    Compare this to football - If a striker scores a goal knowing that he is offside, but the referee makes no such call, would you expect him to put his hand up and say that goal should be discounted? Would you consider it to be cheating if he didn't? This is very similar to nicking the ball because there will be instances of strikers scoring legitimate goals, but only to find the offside flag being raised - sometimes the rub off the green goes your way and sometimes it doesn't.

    When you get caught at cover, there is no question of any 'rub of the green'. It will simply always be given out - there is no real decision to be made. The sequences for events speak for themselves - or Res Ipsa Loquitur as lawyer sometimes say! This issue we are discussing here only comes up when a real decision has to, in fact, be made.

  • on October 5, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    walking is a players choice, when they hit to extra cover they can still wait for the umpire to give them out. you are out when the umpire says you are. the rules applied by the umpire, whether correctly or not, are what players are obliged by. if a player is incorrectly give n out or not out it is technically the umpires mistake

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on October 5, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    "Not walking when you nick it? That's cheating..." - well getting your marching orders when well set off a no ball when there's absolutely no contact between bat and ball and it's doubtful whether a clean catch was even taken is nothing short of disgraceful and humiliating. Umpiring and technology is what needs to change, not just players mindsets.

  • on October 5, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Mark ,I appreciate your insight .well written.

  • Mr.Lock on October 4, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    Mark, you are being ridiculous. What if the shoe is onthe other foot, what if a batsman is adjudged out when he didn't nick it, should he stand there and demand umpire to change his decision since he has always walked when he nicked? It all evens out in the end. That is why I am in favor of DRS to sort out bad decisions.

  • on October 4, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    Surely it's against the spirit of the game to call someone a liar, right?

    So if I tell the umpire that I missed it, and he still gives me out, then the umpire is the one bringing the game into disrepute...

  • shot274 on October 4, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Excellent article. You cannot reason this one out. There are as many reasons for a batsman to walk as not to. The reason why some dont rob a bank is for fear of prison ; others because its just not right! I am with the latter and thus agree with Mark Nicholas. It has nothing to do with a world cup final or a club game. If you think its right you walk. What a pity so few do!

  • on October 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    if the on field players know everything about what has happened in the field of play be it a nick or a wide or a no ball then y do u need umpires...??? you can just let the on field players to do the umpiring and play mutually beneficially... umpires are there for a reason... if the umpire gives u out when u know you havent nicked it and still have to walk off then you have all the right to stay back when you know you have nicked one and been given not out... let the umpires make the decision...

  • dejfrith on October 4, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Caught at cover and you walk? Really? I remember when a certain M.Vaughan declined to accept fieldsman Justin Langer's word for it in an Ashes Test in Australia and survived when the referral showed a rather blurred image.

  • SimonTHFC on October 4, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Surely you can only be accused of cheating by breaking a law to your advantage, I fail to see how that applies to Broad?? And reading a lot of the drivel constantly being regurgitated by the media you would think Broad is the only person to have ever committed such an atrocity!! So if you edge one and its caught but the umpire gives you not out, you should basically say to the umpire, sorry, you got that completely wrong so I will make a mug of you and walk off the pitch. But if you know you didnt edge one and are given out, you cannot then stand your ground and say sorry umpire, you got that completely wrong?? where does the difference lie in disrespecting the umpires decision?? I believe batsmen will walk, when opposing sides start recalling those that aren't out, I.E never!!!!

  • Rowayton on October 4, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    As I have said elsewhere, I have no problem with players not walking, so long as they just wait for the decision (and don't deliberately try to mislead by rubbing their leg or something). Law 3.7 says that the umpire is the sole judge of fair and unfair play - so simply put, when I'm umpiring, if I don't think it's cheating, then it's not. Also Law 27.9 says that an umpire's decision, once made, is final. I have no time whatever for players who walk after the umpire has given them not out.

  • Galey86 on October 4, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    Walking when you nick it is a thing of the past. And I for one think that it should stay there. The reason for this is as follows. In the 2005 Ashes Damien Martyn got 2 or 3 shocking LBWs (mostly from big inside edges than cannoned into his pads). His "failures" in that series pretty much ended his career for Australia. So if he had walked as well then he is getting the worst of all worlds isn't he? He gets given out when he isn't and when he is out he has no chance of reprieve. Alongside this is the fact that the Bowlers/Keepers/Slips appeal for anything they believe is close (something Shane Warne has said many times on interview when asked if he thought everything he appealed for was out, he replied, I thought they were all close). So when a batsmen inside edges it onto his pad, and the fielding team have a pretty good idea that this is the case, do they ever call him back? No. So this in my mind is a complete double standard.

  • sharidas on October 4, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Leave the decision to the individual. In the modern game one can displease some if he walks and displease some if he does not. Let's look at a scenario....last wicket pair in a World Cup final....Two runs needed for a win...you nick it and you know it...the umpire turns down the appeal....Do you walk or not !

  • waqtpk on October 4, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    How about, when the batsman knows that he has nicked it and he is given LBW by the umpire. Shall he stay or submit to umpire's decision. Every sports I know, players use all the rule to their maximum benefit, to me that is intelligent and that is human.

    Sometimes you are out and given not-out and sometimes you are not-out but given out. It may not even out, but that is the game.

  • on October 4, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Smith, Brearley, Radley, Gatting, Barlow, Featherstone, Downton, Edmonds, Emburey, Selvey and Daniel wasn't too shabby

  • novocas7rian on October 4, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    "Pretty much always, batsmen know whether or not they have hit the ball, and if they have, well, they are out."

    Wrong, plain wrong. I know I've had many occasions where the slips have gone up in an appeal, 100% sure I've nicked the ball - but as it passed my heavy bat I was either in full swing or hitting the ground or my pad, and I simply had no idea whether or not there'd been a faint touch and I was absolutely entitled to stand my ground. I'm sure I'm far from alone in this.

    The problem then becomes knowing whether a batsman "knows" he's hit it, and how can we be mind readers? For big edges, sure, but to accuse someone of being a cheat when they stand after a possible feathered edge? No Mark, I can't agree.

  • naamprik on October 4, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    An interesting article Mark, but I think there are too many stories in the one article, and the main issue - walking - has got a bit muddled. The dinner at the Long Room and Wayne Madsen's family history were interesting but a bit distant from the main message. Also, I think that 'cheating' is the wrong word. As some readers have pointed out, Broad did not break any rules, so cannot be accused of cheating. But he can be accused of being dishonest and lacking integrity. Cricket is not like football or politics, which is one of the reasons we love the game. In football, the defendants almost always say "I didn't do it". They know that they are blatently lying and clearly have little in the way of integrity. Broad did exactly the same thing with such an obvious nick, which could be more accurately described as a cut to the keeper. So, no cheating, but definitely dishonest. One way forward is to recognize, and perhaps reward, the genuinely honest cricketers.

  • on October 4, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Mark, I love your commentary and knowledge of your game. Your articles are also insightful and clever.

    You buggered this one up in the first line though: "walk when you feather it to slip". So we don't walk when we feather it to the keeper?

    Like my captain at Wellington CC in Cape Town said after (once more) a player-umpire didn't give out a nick to the keeper:" It's out, it's a catch , he hit it with the bat - that's cricket!"

    Walking: it's a massive debate: especially when players' are at stake. To me: that player got himself into that situation already. Not walking because you're in bad form, is just as bad as not walking when you're in good form. At the end of the day: morality in life has declined (I hear so many people who watch movies on their PCs who've downloaded it illegally off the Internet).

    Not walking in cricket is a symptom of the decay of modern society's morality.

  • ToneMalone on October 4, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    It would be great to see batsmen walk more but I can't see it catching on unless technology and DRS processes become good enough to ensure the batsmen has no hope of getting away with a nick.

    I'm a big fan of Gilchrist & Lara and applaud their sportmanship, and it looks like Kevin Pietersen is a walker nowadays as well. It's a courageous stance - but they have been players with so much talent that their spot was safe anyway. Imagine a newbie or a fringe player walking on principle ... now *that* would be brave!

  • jmcilhinney on October 4, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    "You have no choice but to walk when you're caught at cover. It ought to be the same if you feather it to slip". The only reason that people walk when caught at cover is that they know that the umpire will give them out. You are quite entitled to stand your ground when caught at cover and wait for the umpire to give you out. It really comes down to how much gall you have. That's the issue with Stuart Broad: he had the gall to stand his ground when everyone "knew" he was out. I use quotes around "knew" because many who "knew" he was caught at slip didn't know that the ball had come off Haddin's gloves. If Haddin had caught that ball instead of deflecting it to Clarke at slip then noone would have called Broad a cheat and the whole thing would have blown over in no time. Haddin himself edged the ball behind, knew he'd hit it, stood his ground and was given not out in the very same match and yet noone has even hinted at his being a cheat.

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on October 4, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    If technology picks up a nick and is caught behind, and a batsman has not walked, 25 runs (or some such) should be deducted from his and the team score. That'll fix the problem. There'll be much less time wastage in reviews, a lot more voluntary 'walkers' and this debate would be put to rest. In other words, if we're saying 'not walking' is cheating, then there needs to be a price put on it. Deduct some runs.

  • Vishal_07 on October 4, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    When Olympics were started eons ago, it was the intent for those people to do it fairly. Same trend continued until about 15-20 years ago, but since sportsmen and women have gone professional, you are talking about people's livelihood and while everybody wants to do things right but you always want an edge on your competition.

    Mr Nichols's article is all fine and good but I don't think it flies anymore in the modern world!

  • JAH123 on October 4, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    Sorry Mark, couldn't agree less. Having played club cricket for over 15 years I have been dismissed plenty of times where I was certain I was not out. Sure, some of them might have been closer than I was prepared to admit at the time, but there have been definite howlers along the way. The only thing that makes such dismissals bearable when you are out there fighting for your team is the knowledge that incorrect umpiring descisions sometimes fall your way too. So if you expect a batsman to walk when he gets a faint edge, then conversely bowlers and fielders must not appeal unless they genuinely believe it is out. Can you see that happening? I doubt it. To use an analogy, if a rugby player knows he has thrown a forward pass, should he put his hand up and call play back? Of course not. As for "much of the confusion in the DRS comes from dishonesty" - absolutely not, it comes from limited technology, incorrect interpretation by umpires and poor use by players.

  • EverybodylovesSachin on October 4, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    Mark..it is not cheating.....

  • SillyPointer on October 4, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    There are no fine lines or moral dilemmas here, just an inconvenient truth. If you know you are out, and you choose not to walk hoping the umpire might give you a reprieve, you are a cheat. If you know the batsman is not out, but you appeal hoping the umpire gives him out, you are a cheat. THe mode of dismissal is irrelevant, it is merely a matter of did you know or was there an element of doubt in your mind.

  • on October 4, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    Mark you are talking about not walking after a snick. What about many of those who refuse to walk after failing to regain the crease and they know they are out but wait for umpires ruling. Same goes for stumping. What about those Umpires who ask Third Umpire for a decision in the case of run-out after watching all the way and knowing it is out but would not decide but leave it to the third umpire. On the subject when players can be fined why can't Umpires be for their blunders.

  • on October 4, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    My point overall is that Mark, who generally writes well conceived and thoughtful comments, appears to have made somewhat definitive and stark statements without truly appreciating how fine and nuanced the lines can be. This issue isn't black and white.

    Additionally, whilst having sympathy for the umpires, we must not forget they are paid professionals and are thus rightly accountable and measured by their results and decisions. In turn we should however ensure there is an accurate and reliable DRS with a comprehensive yet workable protocol to accompany it.

  • on October 4, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Given the reactions of multiple players over the last few years I have to say the line "you always know when you've nicked it" must be incorrect. Just watching test cricket it has been amazing to watch people walk when they haven't hit it, yet similarly refer a caught behind decision when they've clearly hit it (and not just as a throw-away referral because there was a challenge left and no batsmen to come it).

    The line blurs further when you consider why standing your ground on catches is considered "cheating" (by some) but not other modes of dismissal. What about making an additional movement or forward press after being struck on the pads and blatantly being at risk of LBW. Is that not deceiving the umpire into thinking the actual point of impact was outside the line of the stumps? In a reverse to the "knowing you've nicked it" philosophy, I'm sure we've all had reprieves when we "know you're LBW" but not been given out, pretending to have hit it or exaggerating that forward press.

  • Lermy on October 3, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Here's a novel concept. If you play and miss and the keeper or whoever catches it, you're out. Because that is an even worse shot than edging it. Anyone for 3 strikes and you're out?

  • PFEL on October 3, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    If a batsmen is given out incorrectly, do they have the right to not walk and keep batting despite being given out? No. Until they do, then no, it is not cheating to not walk if you've nicked it

  • sportofpain on October 3, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @PadMarley: Sangakkara - really? What happened to the 2011 WC final toss?

  • on October 3, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Right..

    This reminds me of Michael Holding, who constantly bangs on about batsman walking.

    How many fast bowlers call batsman back, when they've been given out LBW, after blatantly smashing it onto their pads from an inside edge?!

    I have watched cricket for over 20 years and never seen it.

    When in Rome.

  • Clyde on October 3, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    Mark is right. Whether a batsman is out caught is a fact that does not require an umpire. If the batsman does not accept that he is out then an umpire is needed to enforce the laws. I accept that it is a fact some batsmen don't need to be subjected to enforcement and some do. Most of us would have played plenty of games of cricket where there was no umpire. To nick it and then think you are going to stay in in this sort of generic cricket would mean the game's breaking up in disarray. However, as far as I know, this is rare, because the players do in fact want to play cricket. 'Getting on with it' is about accepting the rules, not primarily about being shepherded by an umpire.

  • on October 3, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    I was watching some highlights recently of the 1974-75 Ashes series in Australia, and without exception everybody just walked. You couldn't hear a nick, there were no slow motion replays, hot spot or snicko, people just walked. The gentleman's game was truly a gentleman's game.

  • on October 3, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    It's interesting Bradman, a non walker and W.G Grace, who put the bails back on and continued batting after being bowled are mentioned in this piece.

    People have never walked all the time. Not Gilchrist, not Lara, nobody.

  • StrangeWays on October 3, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    you talk about the spirit of the game.. when people were playing for "spirit" 50-100 years ago, they had real day jobs... today cricket is some peoples day job... we put them under so much pressure to succeed but we boo them if they fail and we boo them if they don't walk? Spirit doesn't pay the bills! Success does. We live in a world were men no longer have honour. We point fingers at people and say he's a bad bloke because he didn't walk. The fact of the matter is this. THE LAWS OF THE GAME DO NOT REQUIRE HIM TO WALK UNLESS THE UMPIRE GIVES HIM OUT. So stop going on about the spirit of the game, that died a long time ago. It is about money like everything else. Everybody else exploits loopholes so why shouldn't sports people. If half of you people actually had the "principles" that you are all going on about, the whole world would be a better place. Not just on the pitch!

  • InsideHedge on October 3, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    @blaster.pk - I agree, Anwar would never have walked.

  • midnightschildren on October 3, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    A whole article on walking and not a single word about Stuart Broad?!!!

  • on October 3, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    This is silly. You only can lose this way. Never walk, but if the umpire gives you a howler, you accept it too.

    This is why more technology in the decision making process is important.

  • on October 3, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Mark - I totally agree with you. I am always amused at how people try to justify not walking. We should never allow for a sheen of respectability to be painted over what is quite simply, cheating. Do players not walk when their wickets have been knocked over? The reason they do is because it is obvious and everybody knows it's out. So, surely not walking when you know it's out and the umpire isn't sure is just devious and dishonest? As DRS gets better and catches out more of the cheats, it will hopefully decrease. But only if all of us agree that standing your ground when you know you are out is wrong. If you are out you must go. 99.99% of the time a batman knows that he has nicked it. If there is uncertainty about the decision, like an LBW call, then it's obviously an umpire decision. But otherwise out is out. Truth is truth. Truth isn't truth only once a flawed human decides it is. At least now with DRS we can more easily find the truth and expose the cheats.

  • JG2704 on October 3, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Technically you are no less guilty of cheating if YOU know you've got the feintest of nicks than you are if you've got a big edge. I think there are so many fine lines that I don't like to call it cheating. With (in tests) the DRS , you'll generally get found out if the bowling side hasn't used up their reviews anyway and there are possibly instances where the batsman thinks he may have edged it but is not quite sure.

  • AayKay007 on October 3, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    There is a famous quote in cricket - "Get on with it". This is the only principal of spirit of cricket. Sometimes the umpires give wrong decisions and sometimes the batsman doesnt walk. As long as we try to "Get on with it", everything else balances out. So let us simply throw the DRS and Walking out of the window and simply "Get on with it".

  • shillingsworth on October 3, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    Madsen walks once and is now held up as the embodiment of the ' Spirit of Cricket'. The implication is that no one else did likewise on any other occasion last season, which is both insulting and absurd. There are presumably numerous other occasions on which Madsen also walked. Perhaps these taken into account when the award was made but, if not, the whole process smacks of tokenism.

  • shillingsworth on October 3, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    @Gerard Taylor - 'Reading the comments of everyone going against what Mark is saying shows just how much the moral fibre of society today has fallen.' The implication that today's society is somehow less 'moral' is debatable. In a cricketing sense it is absurd - Grace wasn't averse to a bit of sharp practice and there was very little sportsmanship on show in the gambling fuelled matches of the earlier years. This article is a pretty superficial opinion piece - those who have taken issue with it deserve a better response than being branded moral degenerates.

  • on October 3, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    Why is it so hard to just respect the umpire's decision. You have a law/rule and as long as you live by it, its all good. I dont think you have to walk, but at the same time, you must respect the decision if it goes the other way..

  • desiboy454 on October 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    I always believe a cricketer should walk, it should be their own self-respect for the sport and themselves as a cricketer. Sometimes its hard even for a batsmen to know if they faintly nicked it because of multiple sounds, at that time it is ok to stand your ground because you are not sure. But like recently in the Ashes Stuart Broad didn't walk a clean nick that the umpire didn't see, then hell you should walk. Its a person selfishness to not walk because they want to score runs & do well for the team depending on the situation. It is just like when a fielder claims a catch when he knows or sometimes is unsure of a clean catch, I think Ramdin was the most recent with Misbahs catch in champions trophy. That's called cheating.. I agree. But sometimes when a batsman or fielder are unsure they should leave it to the umpire. I agree with mark, that a player should walk when he knows he has nicked it, if he is unsure then stand your ground (not like broad), same for fielding! SPIRIT OF CRIC

  • nafzak on October 3, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    I agree with Mr. Nicholas. If its okay for a batsman to stand his ground and wait for the unpire's decision, when he knows that he nicked the ball and it was caught, then batsmen should never complain or ask for review and should just walk when given out LBW, run out or even caught (even if there is some doubt).

  • RodStark on October 3, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    It's really quite simple to see the difference between a batsman not walking until given out and a fielding team making a fake appeal. In the latter case, there is an active attempt to make the umpire give a wrong decisison. To me, this seems much worse than passively accepting the decison the umpire has already given.

  • on October 3, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    It is nothing to do with cheating. Even if you get caught at cover you need not walk until the umpire calls you out. There may be any number of reasons such as the ball was not caught properly, or there was a noball etc. for not walking. It is umpire's job to decide this. That is why we have umpires. Otherwise there is no need for umpires and players can themselves decide whether they are out or not. Remember many times the fielders claim catches when they are not. Aussies against India did this very well. So I say do not walk until the umpire says so.

  • Billy_Hubble on October 3, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    "It ought to be the same if you feather it to slip"" - Is it possible to feather it to slip?

  • ICF_Lurker on October 3, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Very well said Mark. About time a respected cricket journalist had the moral gumption to call some modern day players what they are.

    With regards to people being criticial of Mark's article. Yes sure "walking" wont solve all the umpiring problems. Complete agree. But if instead of 2 players (Gilchrist & Lara), that number increases to 10 you will see a sea-change. If that goes up to 20, or more, you now have a more respectable atmosphere where teams belive each other and plays game on merit and not cutting corners. And isnt that we want? And which umpire wont readily sign up for this lol.

    Have a bit more faith in people is what I say. Walking will encourage that.

  • on October 3, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Mark remember Bill Lawry's quote, "the umpire has a job and I have mine. I will not walk." Also remember Sydney test against India, so,now all of sudden not walking in cheating.

  • on October 3, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    Agreed in principle. I only have one question: When umpires ineptly (or perhaps in a few cases intentionally) give a batsman out when it clearly isn't, what then? Walking upsets the law of averages.

  • Selassie-I on October 3, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    If you don't want to walk, fair enough, but accept the umpire when he gives you out and it's not, nothing worse than seeing a batsman sat there giving the umpire the evil eye when it's not out after being given. But these things are deep rooted in our game, look at WG Grace for example. When your own team is umpiring in a village game, they never give much as an LBW, unless completley plumb.

  • cricket-india on October 3, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    ok mark nicholas, so let's see here; not walking is cheating. so i edge one behind and put my career on the lione by walking though there has been no appeal or though the appeal for caught behind has been turned down already. in the next match i am basically playing for my place in the team and there's an appeal for caught behind again. this time i stand my ground and i am wrongly given out. could be the bowler and keeper know that i did not edge it and still appealed to try their luck. they got lucky and i was given out. thanks to my failures, i lose my place in the team and have to wait another 5 yrs to even get a look-in. had i not walked in the first instance, maybe i would have scored enough runs so my bad luck in the second game would nto have ruined my career...so how would you convince me to walk ever again?

  • blaster.pk on October 3, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Hi Mark thankyou so much for writing such a good article.

    And double thanks for mentioning the names of " GILCHRIST" "BRIAN LARA"

    because i have seen only these 2 does not matter the situation they walk if they nick the ball. So Hats off to you Mark for remembering the actual facts.. I wondered if anyone whould ever mentioned Lara for this great quality that LARA had, I remember LARA walking in a crutial match in worldcup.... and his counterparts would never do that even if they scored TONS of runs.. you all know who iam talking about..

  • MVRMurty on October 3, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    It is unethical not to walk away if you nick it. It is cheating with yourself more than anyone.

    On the other end of the tunnel, the same rule applies when a bowler/fielder/wicket-keeper appeals for a out; if any of the above know that it is not out then it should be communicated load and clear at that very moment.

    Cricket in the 70's and 80's was played with a lot of spirit, not today. It is very disheartening that every player is interested in winning the game rather than playing it cleanly without fuss.

  • on October 3, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    While I am IN for walking and I am great fan of it. Thanks to Respected Cricketer (Sadly Late) I saw in 1995. He was a local cricketer however remains the first person I ever saw walking. I personally feel, there are two instances when I never could know if I nicked it or not and had to look at the umpire.. 1. When bat strikes the ground at the same time 2. When bat strikes my pads at the same time. Barring these two instances, Batsman KNOWS every time he nicks it.

  • AsherCA on October 3, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    This is all very nnice to talk about. The best solution, something I have recommended to ICC through Cricinfo on multiple occassions -

    1. Do away with the 3rd umpire totally. 2. When the fielding side appeals & the batsman walks, there is no difference of opinion, the batsman was out & left. 3. Both sides should be allowed to assess TV replays if they desire to re-assess their initial gut with facts AND reverse their initial decision. 4. Should both sides stand by their initial gut - batsman claims not-out & fielding side claims out, the field umpire decides & his decision holds.

    Should TV replays prove that the umpire's decision was incorrect, the side that benefitted from the decision should be penalized severely for trying to bypass the system. Severity of the penalty to go up with every increasing offence from the same side. No discretionary power to match referee OR any ICC official to "understand" how / why it could have happened.

  • CricketChat on October 3, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    It is only fair that the umpiring decision is error free to the extent possible whether it came from human or a machine/technology. We have come a long way from the time when stalwarts like Javed Miandad, Gavaskar or Viv Richards wouldn't be given LBW by local umpires for fear of their careers and sometimes even life! Players careers sometimes depend on making a particular performance count. Imagine if he were to be dropped or goes out of contention, all due to a mistake or a dubious decision by umpire. I think no one should walk unless the umpire rules him out. That means a review of every dismissal, including clean bowled, should be followed by a review to ensure it is indeed a valid dismissal. It might slow down the game a little bit, but we can all rest assured it is fair and correct.

  • on October 3, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    Reading the comments of everyone going against what Mark is saying shows just how much the moral fibre of society today has fallen. We are taught (hopefully) right and wrong from an early age by our parents.

    Whether it can be proven that we nicked it is not the issue, whether any external person knows or can police what I did is not the issue. Mark, as I read it, is asking the players to stand up and play with honour. Clouding the issue by talking about the modern game is despicable. Cricket is a game of honour and gentlemen. It needs to become that again. The very meaning of sportsmanship is " aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors". This concept applies to walking, to over appealing, to wicket keepers who knock the bails of without ball in hand and appeal. All of this by the definition of sportsmanship is "cheating"

  • on October 3, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    "Cheating" word in sports shud be used very carefully.. its the worse thing u can call a sportsman.. I have never been a big fan of "Walking".. Cricket is a great leveler.. Sometimes u r given out by the umpire when u r not out, other times u r given not out when u r.. when u r given out, even when u r not, u r expected to accept it gracefully, if u show anything remotely to suggest that u r not happy with the decision can land u up in trouble.. so when u dint have the right to protest when u r not out, same rule shud be applied when u r out and not given by the umpire.. that is how cricket has been played for more than a century now.. and where do u draw a line? bolwers/fielders appealing when there is clear nick.. players taking time to mess up with batsmen's mind.. chatter among fielders to break the concentration of players.. i cant believe any of this is "sportsmanship" but it does happen.. if the rule says, its the umpires decision to make, lets leave it to that..

  • Camberwellcarrot1979 on October 3, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    I really hate this pious, holier than thou approach to walking. What other sports insist on decisions being made by the players rather than the umpires? It is the umpires job!!! Aussies famously don't walk and I have no issue with that at all. The only thing Broad got wrong was walking later in the series! As seen with Bresnan, people don't always know when they hit it or not and Warner had no idea he's smashed it into the keeper's gloves. Mark Nicholas and all posters on here need to stop taking the moral highground and take a more rational approach: never walk and let the umpire do the job he is paid for. Do all those walkers all accept the fielder's decision on catches? Hmmm.

  • on October 3, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    Why single out just this one way of trying to deceive the umpire? If it's wrong to stand your ground when you know you've hit it, then it's wrong to appeal when you know it's not out; something that happens at least as often as not walking.

    Self-policing is either part of cricket or it isn't.

  • shillingsworth on October 3, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    Tired of the 'Spirit of Cricket' being invoked as a prop for weak arguments. The current wording outlaws 'misleading the umpire'. Broad (or most other non walkers) didn't say or do anything, the only thing which misled the umpire was his eyesight. Gilchrist may have been beyond reproach as a batsman but what about the times he appealed as a keeper, knowing the batsman hadn't edged it or was in his ground? The batsman who walks selectively is likewise misleading the umpire (see the excellent examples given by other contributors).

    I'm willing to accept that Madsen walks every time - in which case the award should recognise this. By citing a single incident, the implication is that perhaps he doesn't always walk. Suppose he edges one next season and waits for the umpire - who is going to be brave enough to raise his finger to a winner of the CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award and, by the twisted logic of this article, call him a cheat?

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on October 3, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    I agree, Mark is spot on again. Basically any attempt to suggest that not walking when you know you are out is OK, is an attempt to rationalise cheating. It sounds harsh but that's what is going on.

  • on October 3, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    By the same logic, the umpire should accept the batsman's word if he says he didn't hit it.

    I've stood my ground after edges that jarred, and I've walked off without a word when Saturn was closer to my bat than the ball.

    Find me a seasoned cricketer who hasn't. Including Gilchrist.

  • madvjs on October 3, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    I like the way the article is written and the urge to place the onus on the players to administer the game themselves but I have a question. As a player, I am happy to walk if I know I have knicked to keeper but what happens when I know I have not knicked the ball and the umpires gives me out? If the umpire trusts me and gives me out because I have walked, then would the umpire trust me when I stand their if I know I have not knicked and the umpire thinks he has.... To call "not walking" as cheating is very harsh but then again, to punish a fielder for flooring a catch and still appeal i.e. Denesh Ramdin's case, is also not cheating. In both scenarios you are leaving it to the umpire to make their judgement.

  • on October 3, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Here is a story about a 'Walker" who decided not to walk. I have heard the story when I was a kid, the Indian Cricket team had just returned from their disastrous tour of England in 1974. The story :G.R.Viswanath, seeing the state his team was in decided not to walk after he had feathered one to Knott, the Umpire, I think it was Dickie Bird, was sure of a nick, but the fact that Vishy hadn't walked had him foxed. After a long hard thought he decided to follow his own instincts and gave Vishwanath out. However Vishy's reputation had him worried. During the next break Dickie made his way into Dressing Room and asked Vishy if he felt that that he was not out. Viswanath however acknowledged that he had actually edged it but for once took a chance, Vishy was admonished by a relieved Bird.

    Much later during the Jubilee test in Mumbai, Vishy, then the Indian Captain, called back Bob Taylor who went on to help Botham in a match-winning partnership.

    Vishy never captained India again.

  • Gevelsis on October 3, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    I am amazed that a man of Mark's wit and intelligence should come out with this. This whole debate is a result of Broad not walking in the first test. Dear Mark, if Broad had walked, England would have lost the game. They would have lost because of the Agar stumping fiasco. Are you suggesting that after seeing it on the big screen, Agar should have said 'Sorry ump you got that wrong, off I go?'.

    For about 15 years (up til 2005) the Aussies beat us up, humiliated us, stood over us sneering as we capitulated once again. Now that we have the chance of revenge you seem to be suggesting we should sacrifice the opportunity and choose to be good losers - again. Will not happen, should not happen. Those who choose to walk should walk (except against Australia).

  • Simoc on October 3, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    A good article and fine long leg tells us that he is not a cricketer. What I found that when in poor form you only need that let off to change your attitude. And suddenly you hit the ball in the middle again and life is sweet then, next week and the week after. Then you get given out to a ball that pitches way outside leg stump, and life is not so sweet etc.

  • on October 3, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    @tim hart - incorrect decisions don't just happen against batsman they also happen against the fielding side. A fielder can use the same argument, especially keeper, when appealing for a false catch: why should I withdraw my appeal when there has been so many occasions when decision has gone against me because of batsman not walking. So why penalise the fielder. Considering that these days, fielders also get fined for over appealing, why shouldn't the batsman not be punished for not walking. Do they have some special rights or what.

  • hhillbumper on October 3, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    its amazing how walkers don't tend to walk when pressure is on and use their reputation to sway things.All countries players have done this so the moral high tone is a bit wasted. Leave it to the umpires and go from there. The same could be said about over enthusiastic appealing. Use the DRS and it should sort out most of these issues.

  • Yevghenny on October 3, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    It would be nice if all the morally perfect people within cricket could come up with an actual "Sprit of Cricket" rulebook for everyone else to understand just what is abhorrent and what is acceptable

  • bobbysimpson on October 3, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    You're forgetting that it's very possible as a batsman to feather one to the keeper and not know you've hit it. If you don't know you've hit it, then don't walk. And if it's such a fine edge that the umpire can't see it, then there's a decent chance the batsman doesn't know for sure.

    Hotspot is occasionally inconclusive on edges. So the issue would then come in determining whether the batsman KNEW he hit it or not. You'd have to be able to delve into the batsman's mind to see whether he knew he hit it to see whether he had done the right thing in not walking.

    I doubt anyone has edged the ball directly to the slips (not via the keeper's gloves like Stuart Broad) and stood his ground.

    Ps the New South Wales team of the late 90s - featuring Slater, Taylor, Bevan, Waugh, Waugh, MacGill, McGrath, Greg Matthews and Brett and Shane Lee - they were a pretty special team too!

  • on October 3, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Walker?That great gentleman of Cricket Gundappa Vishwanath! not only he walked but he also walked without rancour when given out when he was not.

  • lee_man on October 3, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Very good article. I have always said that edging and not walking is cheating. Furthermore players who do that should be sanctioned. We have all the replays, snicko, hot spot etc. I Iwere such a player I'd be embarrassed to be found out, but I guess cricket is some sort of war...and not a sport.

  • on October 3, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    If not walking when you nick it is cheating, then fielding team appealing out for not out is cheating too. isnt it Mark?

  • on October 3, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Ok then, thats great, if they nick it they walk. so what then happens when it is given out when they havent nicked it, will we just believe them and let them stay? again, great in theory, but stupid once you break it down into the whole game situation

  • fine_long_leg on October 3, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    If certainty and trust were universal, then this approach would work, and we would all be happier for it (I would class myself as a "walker" and do so proudly).

    The problem is that batsmen do not always recognise that they have edged the ball (as has been demonstrated by Test batsmen reviewing such decisions unsuccessfully). It's impossible to say whether such a batsman is attempting to cheat, or unaware that they have hit the ball. In this instance, it will always seem that the batsman is seeking to gain the advantage.

    Similarly, there will be situations where the batsman knows that he has not hit the ball, but the umpire thinks he has. Should the batsman be consulted in this Utopian vision of the future to put his case forward? If not, then surely the bowler gains an unfair advantage?

    Without certainty, there cannot be trust in the batsman's decision. And I don't believe that can be achieved reliably. It's not ideal, but I don't think you can label them all as cheats.

  • ste13 on October 3, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    This article is 100% correct, but days of sportsmanship, values and being fair to other human being are gone.

  • on October 3, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    I think it's fair to compare not walking in cricket to diving in football. You are in effect trying to deceive the umpire/referee into giving you a favourable decision despite knowing that that decision would be incorrect. It is blatant cheating.

  • on October 3, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    I have always looked at footballers tumbling down at the slightest hope of a penalty with conceited disdain. Nothing of that sort thankfully plagues (/plagued) cricket. I'm almost proud of cricket being a gentleman's game and thus do not mind the expectation of high morality from professional cricketers.

    Ramdin was recently reprimanded for claiming a catch that (he should have known) wasn't clean. It was the right decision. But, extending that analogy to the batsmen, if a player "knows" or "should have known" that he's out, he shouldn't act otherwise; and if he does, he should be penalized just like Ramdin was.

    I think Ramdin's action was not in the "spirit of the game"; but that just makes an even stronger case for terming not-walking as cheating.

  • on October 3, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    And not only cricket,honesty defines the prudence in each of us.When a man walks with his knowledge of the finest nick,he has expressed the quality of a refine human.This makes life luminous.It keeps one close to truth, and helps to emulated others. It's a thing of beauty,it's a thing of god,but K Gibran said,and I quote"Many a doctrine is like a window pane.We see truth through it,but it divides us from the truth".

  • marktheshark on October 3, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    It should be relatively easy to eradicate not walking, if the fans and the analysts show general approval. Cricket (like other sports) has a wide following among impressionable young fans, and by condoning not walking, we are sending the message that is okay to cheat, as long as you are not caught. When we say sport builds character, we should at least try and ensure that the right lessons are learnt on the sports field.

  • Romanticstud on October 3, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    True sportsman are those who accept fate and do what is right ... Jacques Kallis is one of the best examples of that ... In CWC 2011 against England (it could have changed the game) he asked the fielder if he had caught it ... the reply was yes ... Kallis walked ... South Africa lost the game ... Had he stood maybe South Africa would have won ... but instead of the tag CHOKERS ... they would wear the tag CHEATERS ... Adam Gilchrist ... rightly was a walker to some degree ... Makhaya Ntini had him caught off a feint edge in Cape Town ... Instantaneously he went towards the pavilion ... Why don't umpires recall batsmen when the replays show they have made telling mistakes ...

  • o-bomb on October 3, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    @sid.cmu - The rule is that once you are out you leave the field of play. When a batsmen hits the ball and a member of the fielding side catches it he is out - even if he is the only one who knows it. He is out the moment the ball is caught and not the moment the umpire puts his finger up. By not walking the batsman is breaking the rules and therefore cheating.

  • Deuce03 on October 3, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    The problem with this is it's all based on the fallacy that "the batsman knows when he's nicked it". Players have always held this true because until recently we've had no evidence to the contrary, but as we've seen from several batsman reviews on the DRS, batsmen often *don't* know (or they're collectively astonishingly stupid). And what if they're not themselves sure? That they think they might have nicked it but they might also have just clipped the pad? Should they walk and run the risk of starting a collapse when they weren't actually out, or stay put and be branded a cheat (with all that that entails) if the umpire decides otherwise?

    There is no easy answer to this. "Everybody walk" sounds attractive but is just opening another can of worms.

  • Tigg on October 3, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    The only thing I disagree with in this article is this:

    "Pretty much always, batsmen know whether or not they have hit the ball"

    Maybe I just don't play cricket at a high enough level but unless it's a big edge I don't notice it. When the ball is whistling thorugh at 85/90 mph like it does for the top players sometimes you just don't know.

  • py0alb on October 3, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    You want it that way, fine, if the umpire says "not out" but I know I've nicked it I will overrule him and walk off - but I tell you what, if I'm given out lbw when its going down the legside I'm going to overrule him there as well. I'll set up a tent on the pitch until the umpire reverses his decision.

    Either the players respect the umpire's right to make every decision, or its up to the player to police themselves and you can get rid of the umpires altogether. You can't have it both ways.

  • on October 3, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    Mark, Gilly walked when he felt he was out, why did he appeal vociferously behind the wickets, when Dravid had not nicked ( if at all anybody knew that Dravid had not nicked, it was Gilly ). Is this not a corollary? By walking he has become a gentleman in the eyes of the Umpier and the cricketing world. Steve Bucknor believed Symonds when we joined by Gilly in the appeal. The result of the Sydney test was turned topsy turvy.

  • wrenx on October 3, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    @Jake Rassack This is a terrible line of reasoning. Cricket is about playing better than your opponent. It is not a game of convincing the umpire that you're more right than your opponent. We may as well dispense with the sport and have 2 captains plead their case to a panel of umpires to decide each match. Saying that there is no explicit rule against it, therefore it isn't cheating is bad logic. There is no rule as it is too difficult to codify. The principle is one of the founding rules of the game: you hit it, you're caught, you're out. Your argument forgets the fact that plenty of regulations fall behind the practice of the game. When Lillee came out wielding an aluminium bat, there wasn't an explicit rule against it. But he was still trying to push it because he thought he found a loophole, and rules always move later to close them.

  • funkyboy on October 3, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    There is a difference between not walking when you know you are out and appealing as a fielding team for an LBW when you have no idea if it pitched outside leg or if there is an inside edge. While the former is against the spirit of the game , the latter isn't. Gilly used to walk when he nicked the ball but as a wicket-keeper he appealed for anything that he thought could have a remote chance of being given out. It is natural tendency to appeal when the ball hits a batsman's pad or when the ball passes the batsman's gloves with a noise. But , when a batsman stands his ground after edging a ball , he tries to pretend as if nothing happened , avoids looking at the umpire and continues playing in his second chance. This is equivalent to faking an injury to get a penalty and that is just not how cricket should b played. period.

  • ladycricfan on October 3, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Honesty and playing in the right spirit is good for your soul. But sometimes the batsman doesn't know that he even hit the ball specially when the pad is involved ( best and hilarious example is Warner reviewing when there was a huge nick). If not walking is considered as cheating players like Warner will be branded as cheats.

  • wrenx on October 3, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    THANK YOU MARK - cricket is a game of playing the disciplines better than your opponent. It's not a game about convincing the umpire that you're right. Glad to see someone calling it like it is.

  • on October 3, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    How do you feather one to slip?

  • Yevghenny on October 3, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    aren't bowlers and the fielding side cheating when they're trying to pressure the umpire into making a decision they know isn't out? Just look at how many times sides appeal vociferously but don't review? It's a very ugly business throwing the word "cheat" around

  • WoundedSplinter on October 3, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    I'm very glad that Mark has brought this up.

    One further point about the laws of cricket (the actual ones, the ones written down). Presumably everybody here is aware of Law 27.6? That's the one that specifies the "benefit of the doubt" for batsmen.

    This law presupposes that batsmen are honest and will walk if they know they are out. Otherwise, why would they get the "benefit of the doubt?"

  • dickiebrewsters on October 3, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can people stop calling Adam Gilchrist a "Walker". During the Ashes, Sky repeatedly showed the 2002/3 Sydney Test, where Gilchrist failed to walk when Aus were under pressure in the 1st innings (& was given a good send off my Jeff Thompson in the commentary box for standing until the umpire gave him out), then was caught at Gully in 2nd innings (as shown by reply) and walked off holding his forearm as if to suggest decision was wrong. You are either a walker all the time or not at all, not just when you are winning as Aus often were, but also when team is in trouble !!!!

  • EdwinD on October 3, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    As per usual,an excellent article by Mr. Nicholas - there is however one point that he omits - the game has evolved such over the last 20 yrs that renumeration for players has vastly superceded what was paid prior. Therefore, the drive to win at all costs is far more prevalent, especially when players' livelihoods and high salaries are at stake.

  • Blade-Runner on October 3, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    2004, SLvs AUS 2nd ODI @ Dambulla. Andrew Symonds was given out LBW. As Symonds was walking off the ground, SL skipper Marvan Atapattu realized that there was an inside edge and umpires had made a mistake. He immediately called Symonds back to the crease, that too when Aussies were closing in on, needing only 55 runs in 10 overs with 6 wkts in hand to snatch the victory. That was the first and last time a batsman was recalled to the wicket after been given out lbw. The Spirit of Cricket at its best !!!!!!

    However, SL eventually went on to win the game by 1 run, thanks to Chaminda Vaas' famous final over. I call it good karma. :)

  • mansman on October 3, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Finally, finally, finally. Finally someone had the gumption to call the emperor naked. The whole malarkey about "umpire is there for a reason", "it all evens out in the end" (read Ponting, Symonds, KP et al) has been challenged. For the past decade I have been telling my friends exactly the same sentence, "Rahul Dravid doesn't wait for the umpire's decision when he holes out to long-off, but waits for the decision after he has inside-edged Saqlain to forward short-leg. This is plain cheating". Hopefully form now on, irrespective of the nationality of a player, the spectators will put up banners "Cheater" when they see a batsman try and pull this off.

  • on October 3, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    I am surprised at some of the comments. 'Not walking does not break any rule of cricket', 'Why cricket has this obsession with high morals and ethics?', 'Why should the onus be on the batsman and everyone else gets a free pass?'. The thing is if you nick the ball then you know it, you cannot tell yourself a lie. You owe it to yourself to be righteous if not for others. The rule that you break by not walking is that you are caught out. By the logic some of these comments make, it is alright to stand at crease even if you are bowled and the umpire does not raise his finger! You must understand that umpires are human beings too and they are prone to error. The fielder cannot make out each and everytime whether the ball has hit the bat, pad or glove. But the batsman each and everytime knows when he has nicked it or not. The batsman might be confused on rare occasions but 99% of the time the batsman knows if you are out or not. And staying at crease after nicking is plain CHEATING.

  • jw76 on October 3, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    I agree with Mark. Failure to walk is cheating, cheating the opponents (in particular the bowler and catcher) out of a wicket they have fairly earned. Anyone who disagrees either has no active conscience or else is quenching that conscience. Also cheating is appealing when you know the batman is not out, which is an attempt to gain a wicket by dishonest means when it has not been fairly earned. It is impossible to legislate against failure to walk or unfair appealing, a batsman or bowler can always claim he is unsure, but it is possible to condemn it much more strongly as something that in a small way brings the game and the team into disrepute, as with sledging. If anybody in authority has the will to do so.

  • Romanticstud on October 3, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    The spirit of the game played by gentlemen ... huh ... did I hear a comment from short fine leg about how i knicked that one ... i didn't knick it ...the keeper never went up as the ball thundered into his hands ... great fast bowler missed my bat ... oh hell ... they've gone for the review ... I hope snicko isn't working ... the anxious wait as i hope there is no evidence that proves that I actually got a feint edge on that one ... some 30 seconds later ... feels like an eternity ... the finger goes up and the umpire has given me out ... Now I trod off sheepishly with my bat in between my legs ... now what would happen if I walked straight away ... a) the game would progress faster b) justice would prevail c) everyone would be happier that the right call was made d) the fielding side won't get fined for slow over rates ...

  • heathrf1974 on October 3, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Players appeal all the time when they have no idea whether the player is out or not. Why should the onus be on the batsman and everyone else gets a free pass? If all batsman walk then the game will unfavourably favour the bowlers.

  • on October 3, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Utterly beautiful peace from start to finish. Thank you so much for sharing this, I agree unreservedly with your opinion on walking and wish I had been at the Dinner.

    Regards

    James Jacob

  • Nutcutlet on October 3, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    One thing we learn in childhood - and parents are rightly anxious that it's a lesson that their children don't miss - is the difference between right & wrong. It is wrong, the parent tells his/her child, to behave badly in public; it is wrong, they say, to cheat. In explaining why it's wrong to cheat, the patient parent explains that is a clear way of not showing respect, because you cheat when you want to take an unfair advantage over those who don't cheat. The cheater always disrespects the honest wo/man. Lesson learned in early childhood stay with us. Those who believe that becoming an adult means that we make it up as we go along & cheat when the occasion seems to benefit us in our professional or personal lives have forgotten our nurturing (and thereby disrespect the lessons learned long ago & those who taught us them). Conscience, then, becomes our guide &, provided there's been an appeal, we walk rather than cheat. Wayne Madsen knows that. And he's not alone.

  • on October 3, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    It's not cheating as it isn't against any rules. They aren't breaching any player code by staying out there. Until it is in the laws of cricket that staying out on the field when you know you've edged it, it's not cheating. Unless perhaps you try and bring it under bringing the game into disrepute, but that is a very fine line. You can argue that it is morally or ethically wrong. You can argue it's against the spirit of the game. But when it's not actually against the rules you can't argue that it's cheating.

  • Harlequin. on October 3, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Not exactly a laughable suggestion, but it is highly idealistic.

    Cricket is beyond just a game now, it is people's livelihood, and if you listen to Boycott for long enough you could end up believing that is had replaced warfare as the means of establishing world dominance. We all know how much a single wicket can change a match, or series, and it doesn't take too much to imagine how it could affect the life of a batsman personally: it could be the difference between a highly paid contract or a trip to the job centre to find a new career. So why are we surprised when the players use everything they can to make a decision go their way? Of course they are going to, just like when the players use DRS for 50/50 decisions. There is a silver lining though: it makes the players who do walk seem all the more heroic and honourable!

  • Jaggadaaku on October 3, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    All Australians, especially, Punter and Symonds (Monk...) are very famous for nicking and never walk. Shame on these so called legends.

  • switchmitch on October 3, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    One honest article. Players who don't walk are cheats, which ever way one looks at it. All that talk about leaving it to the Umpire's decision is nothing but an excuse to cover up individual's dishonesty. Thank you for highlighting this most basic principle of Cricketing sportsmanship.

  • on October 3, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Is it cheating when a batsman nicks a ball onto his pad, is given out lbw and the fielding team don't call him back? Why is it that the onus is on the batsman? The same is not expected of the fielding side. So basically the umpire is there to judge lbw's and that's it. After all, they can refer no ball decisions, run outs and stumpings are for replays and we can all count to 6.

  • on October 3, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    Can I remind Mr Nicholas of one over in 1998. Where in the space of four balls at New Road he should have been "ct Hick b Illingworth" then "ct Rhodes b Illingworth". The first a nick so great from a bat so far from pad only the umpire being mis-sited by Illy's follow through prevented him giving the decision. Easy to me high and mighty 25 years later I suppose.

  • Marktc on October 3, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    Due to the professional nature of cricket and the competition to be in the team, batsman's scores count, thus, walking, although fair, would not be a popular option.IS it cheating, yes, with no doubt as bad as claiming an illegitimate catch, claiming a wicket you know was not out (but the umpire thought it was), running short and not be found out and so on. IT is cheating....that said, neither the public nor cricket establishment frown upon this behaviour (unless it is against their team of course) but tend to accept it as part of the game. This is further enforced by the fact that action is hardly taken against transgressor and when it is, it is hardly a harsh punishment. The bigger cricket gets and the more runs or wickets to your name count, this problem will grow....the more money that is made from a team win, will also guide the teams behaviour. It is sad that cheating has become as part of the game as the wickets..

  • tamperbay on October 3, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    I totally agree with Mark! For me not walking is the same as claiming a catch that is taken on the bounce. How can we hope for a society without corruption, tax evasion, and robbery, if we are laughed at for demanding honesty in a game. Its a game where people are paid for their success, but its still just a game! We should look at sport and sportsmanship as a means of fostering ethical behaviour in society. Kids look up to their sporting heroes. Surely you aren't a winner if you cheated to get an advantage.

  • on October 3, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    great article from great cricketing personality. and i must say since money has came in cricket passion is gone and

  • peterchennells on October 3, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Mark, I totally agree with you. Cricket is a business as well as a sport and as such must demand the highest levels of integrity. In the business world, cheating get you fired very very quickly. Having played a good deal of cricket there is no doubt whatsoever that a batsmen knows when he has snicked the ball. Not walking is CHEATING and we should not try and water down this fact.

  • genuineIndianFan on October 3, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    If you are sure that you have nicked the ball, then the best thing to do is to walk rather than waiting for the umpire to see whether the rub of the green falls in your part. That is gamesmanship, and cricket is supposed to be a gentleman's game.

    One thought against this is that, when an umpire makes an incorrect decision, like favouring a wrong LBW appeal, then you are bound to accept that. Means, you have some right to wait for an umpire to make a decision in case of caught-behinds.

    I would personally prefer walking when you know that you are out.

  • on October 3, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    great article from great cricketing personality. and i must say since money has came in cricket passion is gone and

  • vaidyar on October 3, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    Something very inherently wrong here. When bat and pad are close together, how do you decide which one was hit? The batsman can always claim it was the pad and stay put. Or if it indeed hit the pad or thigh guard or his shoulder in case of a bouncer while hooking, the fielders would still give him grief calling him a cheat. Also, remember Rahul Dravid's shoe lace incident, where he heard the noise, didn't feel it though, but walked. The reason why it was left to umpires is because it is not so easy to judge by the fielders or the batsmen like if it is spooned to the covers. Think about it: String of low scores, bad form, ball hitting gloves close to hip, what would he do on the spur of the moment?

  • on October 3, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    This issue is very easy to solve. A batsman always knows when he's nicked it. So if there is clear evidence of the nick and the batsman didn't walk, the ICC should fine or suspend the player after the match. How about his entire match fees and a 5 game ban? Player incentives will be aligned with the rules of the game.

  • andrew-schulz on October 3, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    Who wrote the laughable introductory line? You do not feather the ball to slip. UDRS has certainly changed a few things. One thing it has proved is that there are many occasions where the batsman hits the ball and does not know it. It is not quite an exact science. We have seen batsmen hit the cover off the ball, get given out lbw, and not review it. Conversely, we have seen a batsman walk for caught behind when he missed the ball by a mile. It's easy for ex-players to throw mud, but this article is far too black and white over an issue which is not always black and white. This is written by a player who always walked, but stayed there in his last innings in the face of a raucous appeal because he didn't think he had hit it. Only later in the quiet of the pavilion did logic tell me that the sound could only have been bat on ball.

  • Andrew73 on October 3, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    Here comes the rage Mark - you are completely and utterly wrong. You mention it here, but when was the last time you (or anyone) criticised a wicketkeeper or bowler for appealing a non existent edge or obviously edged LBW? You can't have your cake and eat it too - when fielding sides start asking batsmen did they hit it, and accepting their word when they say no, then we can criticise batsmen who stand their ground - until then, accept the umpires call and everyone shut up about it. Did fielding sides stop appealing to the umpires about Gilchrist & Lara? If they stood their ground when given out would the other side have withdrawn the appeal? Of course not. Do the game a favour- hop off the high horse and let this ridiculous argument die.

  • on October 3, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    For me the issue is fairly simple. We reward bowlers/fielders for being able to dismiss batsmen, batsmen ought not be rewarded for being dismissed and we attempt to minimise the number of batsmen who are given an extra life (i.e not "punished") for getting out. A batsman who is not given out while the bowling team has done enough to dismiss him is being given an unfair disadvantage and to knowingly do so is cheating.

    Whenever I've walked, the mindset has been: "the opposition has played better cricket than me today and I don't deserve to stay in the middle". I have a similar mindset when the rest of the team is appealing for an LBW, yet when I know absolutely that it was not out, I stay silent. It's incredibly frustrating when a team has not only played better cricket, but has actually done enough to beat the other team, yet due to mistakes by umpires (forgivable) combined with wilful dishonesty from non-walkers are not rewarded for doing so.

  • on October 3, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Key word here is "feather" or "nick" as the proof is in the pudding. Coming from a layperson, when you are in the midst of chaos and din padded up, gloved up, with many of your senses dulled, how can you know with conviction that it was definitely out, when the umpires themselves have hard time deciding? And umpires are privy to more sober decisions minus the confusion.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 3, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    It seems to me Mark that you have clouded your judgement of the current day walking issue with the misty eyed romanticism of '50's Wisden era memories.

    The teens in the 21st Century has all time greats having to be dropped to end a career, rather than a selectorial suggestion to allow a warrior a graceful exit. If players are prepared to be remembered as hanging on too long, it's not a long bow to see them similarly extend any innings at any cost.

    I find your example of Tony Greig's very telling. While we can't know the mind of every '70's county walker, it seems more in keeping with current attitudes that players walked more because of fear of future umpire retribution, than preserving umpire integrity from committing a howler.

    I can't help continually coming back to the example set by WG Grace when considering an individual's batting morality. If the 'father' of cricket can replace the bails and continue on, then surely his cricketing 'lessers' should be afforded some leeway?

  • on October 3, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    So that means, the batsmen should hold his ground when given out LBW knowing himself that he's nicked the ball? unlimited DRS reviews, cut the role of the umpire, make a technology based umpiring system, and then expect the batsmen to walk when they nick the ball.

  • on October 3, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    Not walking is simply cheating. I don't agree that a batsmen always knows if he's edged it but more often than not he does and if he stands his ground he's cheating the umpire, the opposition, the opposition's fans.

  • PadMarley on October 3, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    A modern day great who walks off is Kumar Sangakkara ... worth mentioning.

  • PadMarley on October 3, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    A modern day great who walks off is Kumar Sangakkara ... worth mentioning.

  • on October 3, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    Not walking is simply cheating. I don't agree that a batsmen always knows if he's edged it but more often than not he does and if he stands his ground he's cheating the umpire, the opposition, the opposition's fans.

  • on October 3, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    So that means, the batsmen should hold his ground when given out LBW knowing himself that he's nicked the ball? unlimited DRS reviews, cut the role of the umpire, make a technology based umpiring system, and then expect the batsmen to walk when they nick the ball.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 3, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    It seems to me Mark that you have clouded your judgement of the current day walking issue with the misty eyed romanticism of '50's Wisden era memories.

    The teens in the 21st Century has all time greats having to be dropped to end a career, rather than a selectorial suggestion to allow a warrior a graceful exit. If players are prepared to be remembered as hanging on too long, it's not a long bow to see them similarly extend any innings at any cost.

    I find your example of Tony Greig's very telling. While we can't know the mind of every '70's county walker, it seems more in keeping with current attitudes that players walked more because of fear of future umpire retribution, than preserving umpire integrity from committing a howler.

    I can't help continually coming back to the example set by WG Grace when considering an individual's batting morality. If the 'father' of cricket can replace the bails and continue on, then surely his cricketing 'lessers' should be afforded some leeway?

  • on October 3, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Key word here is "feather" or "nick" as the proof is in the pudding. Coming from a layperson, when you are in the midst of chaos and din padded up, gloved up, with many of your senses dulled, how can you know with conviction that it was definitely out, when the umpires themselves have hard time deciding? And umpires are privy to more sober decisions minus the confusion.

  • on October 3, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    For me the issue is fairly simple. We reward bowlers/fielders for being able to dismiss batsmen, batsmen ought not be rewarded for being dismissed and we attempt to minimise the number of batsmen who are given an extra life (i.e not "punished") for getting out. A batsman who is not given out while the bowling team has done enough to dismiss him is being given an unfair disadvantage and to knowingly do so is cheating.

    Whenever I've walked, the mindset has been: "the opposition has played better cricket than me today and I don't deserve to stay in the middle". I have a similar mindset when the rest of the team is appealing for an LBW, yet when I know absolutely that it was not out, I stay silent. It's incredibly frustrating when a team has not only played better cricket, but has actually done enough to beat the other team, yet due to mistakes by umpires (forgivable) combined with wilful dishonesty from non-walkers are not rewarded for doing so.

  • Andrew73 on October 3, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    Here comes the rage Mark - you are completely and utterly wrong. You mention it here, but when was the last time you (or anyone) criticised a wicketkeeper or bowler for appealing a non existent edge or obviously edged LBW? You can't have your cake and eat it too - when fielding sides start asking batsmen did they hit it, and accepting their word when they say no, then we can criticise batsmen who stand their ground - until then, accept the umpires call and everyone shut up about it. Did fielding sides stop appealing to the umpires about Gilchrist & Lara? If they stood their ground when given out would the other side have withdrawn the appeal? Of course not. Do the game a favour- hop off the high horse and let this ridiculous argument die.

  • andrew-schulz on October 3, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    Who wrote the laughable introductory line? You do not feather the ball to slip. UDRS has certainly changed a few things. One thing it has proved is that there are many occasions where the batsman hits the ball and does not know it. It is not quite an exact science. We have seen batsmen hit the cover off the ball, get given out lbw, and not review it. Conversely, we have seen a batsman walk for caught behind when he missed the ball by a mile. It's easy for ex-players to throw mud, but this article is far too black and white over an issue which is not always black and white. This is written by a player who always walked, but stayed there in his last innings in the face of a raucous appeal because he didn't think he had hit it. Only later in the quiet of the pavilion did logic tell me that the sound could only have been bat on ball.

  • on October 3, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    This issue is very easy to solve. A batsman always knows when he's nicked it. So if there is clear evidence of the nick and the batsman didn't walk, the ICC should fine or suspend the player after the match. How about his entire match fees and a 5 game ban? Player incentives will be aligned with the rules of the game.