Continuing With Cricket

The cricket controversy has continued unabated in the last 24 hours so I figured an update was worthwhile. One of the umpires has been stood down for the next match after pressure from the Indian Cricket Board. It’s important to know that that board represents (don’t quote me) 70% of the TV viewing audience in the world. They have some weight, which is giving this whole problem more to deal with.

A couple of articles I read this morning were well written and agreed with my opinion. Two factors I enjoy in articles…

Michael Epis says, “when the Australians stand at the crease when they edge the ball to first slip and appeal when the batsmen is clearly not out — well, why then would you believe anything they say?”  He gets bonus points for using the word heroes in describing Ponting’s team with his tongue in his cheek.

Philip Bond continues that line of thought and writes the best paragraph I’ve read about the situation.  “If a player is dishonest about nicking the ball, why should we imagine he is honest about grassing it? These are not interpretations of cricket, they are interpretations of the truth. The line is distinct. Either we play cricket for the game, in which case we walk, or we play for ourselves, in which case we don’t.”

This idea challenges those who say these players are professionals and must do everything they can to preserve their position in the team.  You may be a professional, but you are a cheating professional.  I wonder what their opinion of drug taking in baseball is.  It must be justified, right?

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9 Responses to Continuing With Cricket

  1. Chris Hingston January 8, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    Philip Bond is implying that in the case of Symonds for example that he lied about hitting the ball ie “If a player is dishonest about nicking the ball”. In fact Symonds never denied hitting the ball. It is not the batsmans job to give the decisions or the bowler for that matter it is the referee/umpire who is paid big money to do that job. This is where people confuse a friendly game with a multi-million dollar sport and the respective stakes involved.

    Its not a matter of honesty as nobody has lied. They have simply been let down by poor quality adjudications.

    I repeat when a professional cricketer dosen’t snick a ball and is given out he dosen’t have the luxury of “staying at the crease” so by “not walking” when the umpire makes the reverse human error, the balance is maintained.


  2. Matt Langdon January 8, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    I don’t believe honesty is only about responding correctly to questions. It’s deeper than that and certainly covers the decision to walk or stay at the crease.

    Chris, I know you’re a baseball fan. How would you respond to a batter saying he took steroids because everyone else was, thus keeping the balance maintained?

    Also, I think Bond’s comments are addressing your point on the multimillion dollar nature of the sport. He’s observing that the players are playing for themselves, rather than the game. I’m definitely having trouble knowing where to stand on that aspect. The competition for places in the team is fierce and one innings can often determine a player’s future and paycheque. Money is certainly a factor, but it’s unclear what percentage it plays in these behaviours.

    Thanks for your comments.

  3. Chris Hingston January 8, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    One thing to remember about basball and steriods is the the governing body did nothing to outlaw performance enhancing drugs while just about every other sport did.

    MLB condoned the behaviour by their refusal to act. They allowed the game to produce tainted events by turning a blind eye.

    I suspect MLB traded their concious for the magic beans on this issue. Allowing extra-human efforts to draw fans back to the game, particulary after 1994 was a stain on their characters of those who run the sport.

    I cannot relate the two issues here as to me they don’t match up. If the baseball umps were charged with detecting drugs and failed to do so then I could see a paralell.

    Sadly for MLB there were no rules when clearly there should have been. Just as in cricket the rule is your out when the umpire gives you.

    On the question of money and positions, when there are just 11 places available to these guys and they may not get a renewed contract should they fall from favour then it’s their livelyhoods we are adressing not ethics.

    I don’t know how many times I can say this but this is more than just a game.

    There is no correlation to a few friends playing a friendly game of baseball or cricket to the highest level of the same sports. It simply is not the same thing.

  4. Matt Langdon January 8, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    I think you’ve shown the two different angles we’re taking on the subject. I’m glad you did too.

    I am definitely talking about individual choices and accountability. That’s what this blog is all about. What is a rule and what is right are not always the same. Everyone that took steroids knew it was wrong. I have no doubt that MLB’s poor performance added to the temptation, but ultimately the temptation was decided on by individuals. Either they did or didn’t do the right thing.

    The same goes in the cricket. Adam Gilchrist walks because he knows it’s the right thing to do. It’s not the rule, but it makes sense.

    I totally agree with your last comment and that’s what makes the decisions of individuals in the professional situations so intriguing.

  5. Chris Hingston January 8, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    Another thing I find interesting about India’s stance on catches is that before the series Ricky did what he always does and sits down with the opposing captain and asks for an agreement that a fieldsman’s word on whether he took a catch or not would be good enough. The English never ageree to this yet this tour the Indian captain Kumble agreed to this proposition.

    In the first innings Ponting took a catch but quickly informed the batsman the ball had not carried. Yet when Clarke takes a catch and he says he caught it, the agreement goes out the window.

    Kumble can’t pick and choose when he wants to honour that agreement. He either has to say “look sorry Ricky but I don’t to play that way on this tour” or he accepts Clarkes word.

  6. Matt Langdon January 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    I addressed that in the first cricket post. I believe the change in “trust” came after Ponting claimed a catch that hit the ground in the second innings.

  7. Chris Hingston January 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    That was a catch every day of the week if the umpire thought it had been hit by the batsman. The ball did not hit the ground, he caught it clean.

  8. Sonu January 9, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Hmmm….interesting post and the comments that have followed.
    I am an Indian and I supported India in this controversy.
    But then, perhaps, being an Australian would have made me support Ponting.
    Sometimes, I dont understand, whether its a matter of “taking sides” or “expressing opinions”

  9. Matt Langdon January 9, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    Thanks Sonu. I’m Australian, if that helps confuse things even more. The battle between national pride and objective discussions on character is definitely in evidence in the whole conversation – in Australia and India.