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Disgraceful England Deserve Censure But The ICC Thanks Them

by achettup

Ian Bell is a good batsman. Thats all he is. He is not an umpire. He is not a match referee. He is not the sole authority on the cricket field. At some point yesterday he decided he was all of these things. He assumed that the ball was dead. Him and him alone. His batting partner, Eoin Morgan didn't. The bowler didn't. The fielder who had thrown the ball in didn't. And the umpires didn't. Yet in a supreme display of arrogance, Bell trotted over to his batting partner, who looked most uncomfortable about the whole affair since he had just put his bat in the crease after attempting to warn Bell, and knew something unfortunate was about to occur.

Make no mistake, the error was Bell's and Bell's alone, nothing but sheer stupidity. But it gets worse from here. Ignore the indignation from the English, who almost drowned twitter out with calls for Dhoni's head for, well, doing the correct thing. As the umpires asked Dhoni if he wanted to uphold the appeal, they also turned to the English batsmen and asked them to wait on the field until a decision had been made. Bell's arrogance took to the fore again and he marched off, seemingly as oblivious to their request as he seemed to the entire run out fiasco. Note that even at that point the umpires had still not called Tea, it was Bell who took it upon himself to declare the session over. Bell was actually stopped just before he left the ground to his obvious disgust by the fourth umpire, who politely reminded him that the session had not in fact officially ended.

For such blatant disregard to an umpire's authority, a player has already been penalized in this test, too bad he isn't English though, because they are praised for this sort of behavior. Already in this test we've seen Graeme Swann kick the stumps in disgust at his own performance, and despite being his second offence in under three months, escape with a reprimand. "Look here you jolly old fellow, we love your witty banter on twitter, but you can't go around kicking the stumps when you feel like it. Just quickly apologize for it and we'll sweep it under the carpet."

The most petulant and a serial offender in the English side, much like his father before him, and rewarded with T20 captaincy - this is the same bowler who is the only international cricketer to have conceded 6 sixes in an over in a T20 match - Stuart Broad, took it upon himself to step into his father's shoes and check if VVS Laxman had applied Vaseline to his bat. The English seem to think this sort of behavior is amusing, its a bit like throwing jelly beans on the pitch, its all in good fun when you're not at the receiving end. Insinuate that an Englishman might be a cheat and you'll get the response the Pakistani team received after their counter accusations during the spot fixing brouhaha.

Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower chose to approach Dhoni during the Tea interval and ask him to reconsider his appeal. This has been described as "most unorthodox" but the more simple way of describing it is that it was way out of line. You cannot go to the opposition and ask them to play in a manner that suits your players after your very players are solely responsible for an incident because of their stupidity, and especially not after the mob you're leading onto the field has already acted so disgracefully. The trouble is, nobody seems to be telling England that they're behaving terribly. Oh no, quite the opposite.

Here's how Haroon Lorgat, CEO of the ICC, described the incident and the conduct of the players. "Absolute credit must go to Team India, the England team and the match officials - Ranjan Madugalle, Asad Rauf and Marais Erasmus as well as the off-field umpires Billy Bowden and Tim Robinson - for the superb way that they all handled a tricky situation. While the initial appeal and umpire decision may have been acceptable to the letter of the law, the decision by India captain M S Dhoni and his team -as well as the Team India coaching staff - to withdraw the appeal shows great maturity. To see players and officials uphold the Great Spirit of cricket, which has underpinned the game for more than a century, is very special. I am indeed grateful for the way that the teams and match officials handled what was clearly a difficult situation and their behaviour reflects well on everyone."

I'm not sure what Lorgat is smoking, but he did get a few things right, so it might not be the best stuff out there on the market. The umpires and the Indian Team deserve praise. Don't discount the role of the umpires here, they could have chosen to act as heavy handed as Daryl Hair did at the Oval during Inzimam's protest and taken the incident to a whole different level. Madugalle's lenient reprimand to Swann and his overlooking Broad's distasteful accusation, doesn't deserve credit. And England's conduct definitely does not either. The "Great Spirit of Cricket" shouldn't win any accolades today, it was in fact insulted because it asks players to play fair, within the rules and to respect umpires. But more so because it promotes equality and equal treatment to players, and by all indications from the ICC's statement, equality seems to be used rather judiciously, and certainly selectively.


Anonymous said...

Well said and agree entirely ! You will rarely see Madugalle give a decision against the "white sahibs"; he knows it does not serve himself to cut off the hand that feeds him !!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, but the hand is brown!

mlmakin said...

What utter and complete nonsense. Maybe you missed what Dravid said at the end of play -- that the Indian side would have been very unhappy if one of their batsmen had been dismissed in such a manner. Bell made a mistake at the very end of the session, misled by some very poor fielding; India took advantage and were perfectly entitled to the wicket; but just imagine what the rest of the series would have been like if that appeal had not been withdrawn. Where on earth is Bell's "arrogance", and how silly can you be to suggest that the whole business was about race/nationality?

Anonymous said...

What about d vasline thing???
By checking on vvs laxman and then reporting it to d press they are acusing him of being a cheat...
Where was the spirit of cricket then??

Will said...

But taking into account what Dravid said, None of the Indian players would have done something like this. In fact, if you watch carefully, Bell started running for the fourth run, realised he was going to be run out and decided to nonchalantly walk away with Morgan hoping that no one would notice. Oldest trick in the book

pjmerrell said...

I wonder why you are playing the colonial underdog card here?It belittles your nation, your cricket and - to be honest - anyone who reads this.

India are number one in the world. India are world champions. India are the economic powerhouse in the game. The BCCI are so powerful that they have managed to enforce their own view on technology on an away series.

To write an article that suggests that poor little underdog India are suffering under the heavy hand of master's oppression is just . . . silly is the best I can come up with.

Bell was dozy. Yeah, he probably deserved to be out, but it looked ill befitting of the number one side in the world to get him out for being a bit thick.

With the great power India now have in world cricket - and fair play to you - you have to accept greater responsibility. Sometimes that means taking a huigher moral position than you would like.

As for the Broard and Swann issues. Swann kicked the stumps and then replaced them. Kumar was pulled away from the umpire while arguing with him. If you cannot tell the difference then you are not just bored and crazy you are a moron.

Broad is a muppet.vNo argument there.

Finally, just show the class of Dravid. He'swhat being number one is all about. Not a shrieking conspiracy theorist, not a hysterical everyone is out to do us down, but a true xample of the spirit of cricket

Unknown said...

Team India played it right. When the captain and coach request for a withdrawal of appeal, Dhoni could not have said 'no'. Team India respects the sport, the English do not. Ian Bell should not have come back on to the pitch. That was a clean dismissal by any rule book, the controversy is meaningless.

achettup said...

Ah look, a few typical bleats in response to criticism from the opposition: "hysterical", "colonial hang up", "race/national" issues... stereotypical much? Did you cretins even bother reading the piece before making this utterly futile and painful defense for repugnant behavior that has gone unpunished.

If not let me reiterate that specific instances were provided which showed: (i) blatant disrespect towards the umpire by a player who took umbridge for a mistake that was purely of his own making, perhaps in the worst case scenario feigning arrogance and ignorance because he is a downright cheat... (ii) If you have committed a prior offence in the past three months, irrespective of whether you instantly apologize (and what hogwash is this? Can you go up to a player punch him in the face and immediately apologize and escape punishment?) the ICC's rules say you are automatically handed a Level 2 punishment, which was disregarded in Swann's case. His apology doesn't mean his petulant behavior didn't occur. (iii) Broad insinuated without any proof whatsoever that he suspected that a member of the opposition cheated, I think we all remember England's fury after Ijaz Butt's comments. Hypocritical much? (iv) Strauss and Flower had no business asking the opposition to reconsider their appeal of a mistake, one borne purely out of their player's stupidity and of no fault of the opposition's. I'm not alone in saying this, the entire Sky commentary team seems of this opinion as well (since we're playing the "oh look what someone from you're own side said about this" card).

Rahul Dravid said the team felt uncomfortable as they did when Laxman was dismissed in (entirely different, but then Rahul has always loved playing the distinguished spokesperson role, and was isolated in his own team for assuming that role with the fiendish coach Guru Greg) apparently similar circumstances in the West Indies, but note you didn't see boos from "hysterical" Indian fans to that dismissal, you didn't see Dhoni approach Sammy with a request to withdraw the appeal and you didn't even see the slightest inkling of disrepute from Laxman. The "correct decision" was the made on both accounts by India, first on the field - when an opposition player is solely responsible for a mistake you make him pay for it, ignore his whining and let him learn from it - and secondly on a political level, not out of fear of what the series would descend to but rather because it provides the moral higher ground and in the light of the ICC's despicable unequal response to similar behavior from both sides, provides legitimacy to a rant such as the one I've written here.

Anonymous said...

I think you're probably right. England should have just risen above the confusion of the situation and continued to bat India into the ground. Reinstating Bell might speak to the civilised nature of the game but it's also a distraction from the issue in hand which is the comprehensive bulldozing of one group of players by a genuine team playing well and together.

Actually, that might explain why the team got behind Bell and asked for him to be reinstated - because they are a team and they do stand up for each other, both off the field and on it. Maybe India could learn a lesson from them, or more likely from Duncan Fletcher who is the coach who started England on the path to being a cohesive and efficient team.

Anonymous said...

focus on something else . . . anything else . . . other than the fact you've just been utterly and totally humiliated.
I mean, bloody hell that . . . was . . . awful.
Tubby, technically shocking, cowardly village standard cricketers.
All summed up by the fact your captain would not get in ANY test team.
It was all Bell's fault. Honest ;)

vminerva said...

Equality is selective indeed. Some of us may agree with Dravid, but Im guessing many youngsters in the Indian side don't. I don't have an issue with that. People are entitled to their opinion.

Spirit of cricket was upheld indeed. Maybe this year's award will go to England, because they gave us all a opportunity to see the spirit being upheld! ;-)

Patricia said...

This article was a real yawn. We saw it all on TV and your article was nowhere near the truth.