Friday, 27 June 2008

Ben on...the spirit level of cricket

The Collingwood Incident has kicked up some stink. It wouldn't be a decent controversy in New Zealand however without a bit of self-flagellation. According to some, Vettori is the villain for his potty mouth and petulance. And pretty much everyone has been quick to recall the run out of Murali, over which some believe we have surrendered the moral high ground on questionable run outs.

These two controversial run outs hardly bear comparison; they lie on opposite sides of the 'being a dick line'.

I would have been very happy if Murali had been called back and my respect for Fleming would have risen greatly. But really, Murali only had himself to blame. In every other similar circumstance, the batsman waits with the toe of their bat on the line, standing as far back down the pitch as they can to show their impatience, while the ball is returned to the keeper. Everyone understands that the ball is still alive.

The fundamental mechanic of running between wickets is that it is up to the batsman's judgement and his legs to get him to safety and the fielders' fielding skills to get him out. In Murali's case, his judgement failed him in a peculiar way.

In Elliot's case, the fundamental mechanic broke down. Having to deal with being bowled over is not supposed to be part of running between wickets. Obviously it was no one's fault, but to take advantage of a situation where the game has broken down is clearly at odds with the spirit of the game.

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