Patrick Smith of the Australian
puts the furore over Stuart Broad not walking when he edged behind down to the fact that he "was startlingly more bald-faced than anyone we have seen and therefore his scorn for the game and his opponents was unprecedented
". On the offchance that Patrick is reading this, perhaps he might take a look at this
In the first of those, Michael Clarke middled it onto his thigh pad, and wasn't given out. England had a review left, and roughly six close fielders all called for it at the same time. In the second, Clarke got a thick edge straight to first slip, and stood his ground before being given out. Batsmen don't walk - and haven't in Test cricket for decades. Shall we have another?
I'm actually slightly baffled by the reaction to it. You can expect people who know naff all about cricket (such as Richard Dawkins
and Piers Morgan
) to jump up and down and call Broad a cheat (a cheat! for not walking against Australia
!), but for anyone who knows anything about cricket, getting aerated because someone nicked behind and waited for the umpire's decision is like being appalled that England don't clap the new batsman to the crease.
I'm also completely thrown by the idea - trumpted by Greg Baum of the SMH here
- that while OK, batsmen don't walk for thin edges, they should walk if it's a really big nick. How on earth does this make sense? If you nick it, you know you have - almost always. Why is it any different to stand there if you've feathered it, than if you've hit the cover off it? Because you're more likely to get away with it? That's more like cheating than either always walking or always not.
As an aside, Baums line that "A catch to slip is out, and out, and out, and a batsman who does not accept that is a prat"
is irrelevant here: Broad nicked it to the keeper - it bounced off Haddin's thumb to be caught at slip. There was once a batsman though who, on 28*, nicked it not to first slip, but to second
. He was given not out
by a local umpire and went on to get 187. Don Pratman has a certain ring to it.
Anyway, Aussie fury at an Englishman not walking is not without its lighter side. Michael Gleeson in the Age waxes lyrical
about the damage done to cricket by (I still can't quite believe this) a batsman edging behind and waiting for the umpire to make the decision.
And it was not cricket. No longer was there cricket of the quaint, charming, small ground in a small town way. There was in its place the dull-minded cynic. The dull-head exploiting the non-decision of the dunderhead.
Eventually, there are only so many times you can go over old ground. Batsmen don't walk. Ask Bill Lawry
, ask the umpires
, ask Michael Clarke. If you want to see what real damage to the spirit of cricket looks like though, you can't really do better than this.