Running on Empty

October 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment


Was Andrew Strauss right to deny Graeme Smith a runner in their recent Champions Trophy match? Strauss felt that Smith was cramped due to his long innings and no batsman who has scored a hundred deserves an advantage. Is this is the right spirit of the game?

Strauss has been questioned a lot in recent times about his ability to play the game in the right manner. There were claimed catches in the Ashes series that were questionable and this put him in the doghouse.  But when Brad Haddin was injured after the teams had already been named, Strauss allowed Australia to replace him and all was good and rosy. You have to be careful about this because of cricket betting concerns.

Also Strauss made the call to recall Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews after the batsman was run out after stumbling while running into an English bowler.

Can a captain pick and choose when he is going to be generous to the opposition and when he can stick to the letter of the law? Adam Gilchrist made a rod for his own bat when he walked in a World Cup semi-final. No one had umbrage about him walking but they felt that if was going to play the game like that then he had to be consistent. This meant that not only would he have to walk every time but he also couldn’t appeal against opposition batsmen when it was highly dubious.

It is the ability to rise above the contest and be a gentleman which makes the cricket the great sport it is. It is far more important than the result. Umpires make mistakes all the time but the umpires are following the rules and sometimes the rules don’t equate to justice.

In sports such as football there is a problem with diving and people trying to con the referee. In rugby, a player simulated bleeding, in athletics people take steroids and in Formula One a driver deliberately crashed. That is what cricket is up against – people doing their utmost to manipulate the rules and to cheat the opposition. Cricket can set an example not just to all cricketers, not just to all sportsmen but to all people what sportsmanship is all about.

Sometimes in cricket it does get tense and competitive out there but that doesn’t mean that people forget why people play the game. Next time I would love Andrew Strauss to allow Graeme Smith a runner and then bowl him the next ball.

David Wiseman writes for this blog.  When not writing about cricket, he writes about the Melbourne Cup.

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Entry filed under: Cricket.

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