Monday, 11 December 2006

The McCullum beat-up

The front-page banner in the Sunday-Star Times read "McCullum, hang your head in shame". What is he supposed to be hanging his head about? Running out Murali while the batsman went for a wander down the wicket.

I suspect the sub-editor who wrote the banner and Greg Ford, the sports writer who wrote the piece inside the paper, have never played a game of cricket in their lives. If they had they would have known that one of the fundamental rules of batting is that you must stay behind the crease until the ball becomes dead. The fact is, Murali chose to go for his wander while the ball was still in the process of being fielded. While it was a sad way to go and I felt a good deal of sympathy for Sangakkara who could well have gone on to steal the match from New Zealand I don't have that much sympathy for Murali. It was a very stupid thing to do and he got punished for it. End of story.

I was chatting about the event with Ben and Karl yesterday. Ben and I were involved in a similar incident back in the days when we both played social cricket. The player who was run out was actually my cousin, Andrew, who knew nothing about cricket but had been dragged into the side to make up numbers. After completing a run he went for a pointless little wander outside his crease. Knowing Andrew he had probably spotted something shiny in the grass and wanted to see if it was anything interesting. He was duly run out. And subjected to a fair amount of abuse from his team-mates for being so stupid.

Thankfully most of the real cricket journalists know a beat-up when they see one. Richard Boock and Jonathan Millmow (not online) are both strongly in favour of McCullum's actions. Geoff Longley isn't quite so convinced, but at least he is still rational.


noizy said...

Charlie Austin, cricinfo's Sri Lankan correspondent lays the blame at

"Muralitharan had a brainstorm, tapping his bat into the crease and then leaving it again to congratulate Sangakkara while the ball was still live. Brian Jerling, the square leg umpire, motioned to Muralitharan that over had not been called, but it was too late and Brendon McCullum whipped off the bails. Muralitharan may justifiably claim that the dismissal was not within the spirit of the game, but it was within the letter of the law and, for a cricketer of his immense experience, it was a moment of unpardonable madness."

noizy said...

at...Muralitharan's feet, that is.

Ben said...

It really was a beat up in the Sunday Star-Times. What the sensationalist headline doesn't reveal is that the article it is quoting is one of a pair offering contrasting perspectives on the run out. Greg Ford, who wrote the anti–run-out article, no more believes that McCullum should hang his head in shame than Michael Donaldson, who wrote the pro article, thinks that we should "stuff ethics and being a good guy".

Karel said...

This is all a storm in a teacup. Ridiculous. But i do want to point out that i dont even know if mcCullum KNEW Murali was doing what he was doing. Would McCullum have been more intent on watching the ball into his hands from Martin at fine leg? No doubt he had the corner of his eye focued firmly of the feet and bat of Murali approaching the crease but surely he wouldnt have known the difference between going for a second run and going down the crease to meet Sangukara?
Anyway, whole thing = ridiculous.

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