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War Cries… and “Howzat” Appeals…

by Bored Guest

When appealing or rejoicing after a wicket… cricketers are louder than the Native Indians of the Americas just before they launch their lethal attacks!

In the sport of cricket, an Appeal is much like a War Cry and is to be seen as the act of a player on the fielding team asking an umpire for a decision regarding whether a batsman is out or not.

According to the Laws of Cricket, an umpire may not rule a batsman out unless the fielding side appeals. There have been occasions when a batsman has otherwise technically been out, but the fielding team neglected to appeal so the umpire did not declare them out (more in the ‘leg before wicket’ scenario, rather than an obvious ‘bowled’ situation). An appeal may be made at any point before the bowler starts his run-up for the next ball.

According to the Laws of Cricket, an appeal is a verbal query, usually in the form of: “How's that?” to an umpire. Since the taking of a wicket is an important event in the game, members of the fielding team often shout this phrase with great enthusiasm, and it has transmuted into the slightly abbreviated form, “Howzat?”, often with a greatly extended final syllable making it like: “Howzaaaaat?”. During this shout most players also raise their arms or point at the umpire as part of the appeal. Some players have established their own trademark appeals as well. Some players even practice celebrating a dismissal before the decision has been given by the umpire, an action that can have serious consequences as per the ICC.

What I am stating here is that there are many possibilities.

Having clarified the technicalities on this front, let’s get on with the reality of these shouts. Here’s a case study of the energetic Sikh, Madhsudan Singh (Monty) Panesar of England, who is known to be one of the most vigorous appealers of our time.

That’s a dozen pictures for you!

What you have to know is that the number 12 is very significant for Sardars (Sikhs) in their everyday lives (please have any North Indian describe why so)!

I assume that you also understand now, why I picked a temperamental Sardar (Sikh) for my case study… the expressions of aggression, the gesticulations, the jumps, the frightening black beard, the black bandana (Patka) … I tell you: this guy’s got it all to make even the most steadfast of umpires take a decision in his favour (in tests, Monty currently has 126 wickets in 39 matches to his credit).

Also, should you not be successful as a bowler, then you may enlarge the following mask and wear it at your next match… results guaranteed!

I shall write another day about the ‘real Indian equivalents’, including our own ‘leaping Sardar’ Harbhajan (Bhajji) Singh. Bhajji being the North-Indian representation, I shall also analyze his South-Indian counterpart Shanthakumaran Sreesanth. Wow, ever heard this guy cry out? He appeals until he himself gets sick of it!

There are others too, like Anil Kumble, W.P.U.J. Chaminda Vaas, Kevin Petersen, Andrew Flintoff… and way back when (for our history buffs) there was a George Duckworth, who played in the early half of the 20th century for Lancashire and also for England. He was known to be the loudest ‘appealer’ of his time!

Sometimes these guys over do it and then get banned or fined appropriately: Virender Sehwag, Parthiv Patel, Sreesanth, Brett Lee, etc. have all been fined for excessive appealing in the past.

One thing is for sure, it makes for good listening, viewing and some excitement.

Ajoy Eric Lal
… and you thought watching cricket is only about centuries being scored and wickets falling!

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