Posts Tagged ‘Ashes’

The England fast bowler, Mr Stuart Broad, nicked a ball off Ashton Agar to the first slip, Michael Clarke, on day 3 of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The ball was cleanly caught and the entire Australian team celebrated. However, unfathomably and unfortunately for the touring side, the ball umpire decided against giving Broad out. Course, the now distraught Australians remonstrated but to no avail. Mr. Broad? Well a bemused Mr Broad could hardly believe his luck. He stayed at the wicket and did not “walk” to the pavilion (and thereby concede to the umpire that he had hit the ball and was thus was duly dismissed). The England team prospered and Broad was eventually dismissed next day for 65. The debate on whether batsmen should walk is a perennial one in sports circles these days. Many say no, the batsman should stay. The onus is on the umpire to give the player out and if he or she makes a mistake in your favour, so be it. Nonetheless, anyone who has played the sport knows that the general rule of thumb is that for every right decision the umpire makes in our favour, there will an equal number of dud calls that go against us – It’s simple as that really. More importantly, it is just hypocritical of the Australians (especially the Aussies!!) to complain because let us be honest, if the boot had been on the other foot, an Australian batsman would not have walked either.

There is something rotten about the Broad saga and, at the risk of drawing a very long bow, I reckon it is symptomatic of the decline of the perception that cricket is a gentleman’s game. Once upon a time, cricket and fair play were synonymous. Cricket’s ethics were a reflection of Ethics generally. Period. That venerable saying now has to be confined to the dustbin – for the foreseeable future. Perhaps it is the nature of the beast – professional sport in the 21st century?  Realistically, sport is like life you know. We must look after number one and our own interests. The greater good, the spirit of the Game, doing the right thing, these are quaint, sentimental relics of another age. Perhaps historians may look back one day and see a significant cultural marker in cricket. Something was irrevocably different, we were no longer the same. . . the day when batsmen no longer walked.

It has to be argued that in this era why isn’t our experience of ethical self-policing becoming an archtypical experience – where we all can unite ethically by recognizing and abiding the societal norms from an ehtical viewpoint, without the need for some higher authority to guide us?? Or, to put it more bluntly, why is Stuart Broad the poster boy for “the way we live now”, So are the examples we choose really forced upon us by the way the world is, or is it simply that we choose the examples that show us what we want to see?

 So the question is whether failing to “walk” in cricket symptomatic of a more prevalent issue? Or is it merely just the way the game is now played and I am just guilty of having a good ‘ol rant?