Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Cricketers and walking

There are people who praise cricketers who walk without the umpire having given them out and criticize cricketers who do not walk without the umpire having given them out. A batsman has to do his job and the umpire has to do his job. If a batsman is not out but the umpire gives him out he has to go. Umpire’s decision has to be followed.

Cricket is a team game and when a player represents his country he has to think of the consequences for his team and country. Sachin Tendulkar in the match against West Indies walked even though the umpire ruled him not out. Ricky Ponting in the match against Pakistan did not walk. He was given out by the third umpire after watching TV replay. Ricky Ponting was right when he did not walk.

There are people who say cricket is a gentleman’s game. By gentleman they mean a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behaviour. When cricket began in England, gentleman meant a man of independent means who did not engage in occupation or profession or gain. There were gentleman cricketers and professional cricketers. For a long time England’s captains were gentlemen. Leonard Hutton was the first professional to become England’s captain. Now professionalism in cricket has taken high with cricketers being auctioned.

Why did Sachin Tendulkar walk? May be he was fed up with the criticism that whenever he scores a century India lose. He hit a century against England and it was a tie. He hit a century against South Africa and India lost. Against West Indies he walked and India won. It is unfair to blame a batsman who hits a century if the team loses the match. It is not that every time Sachin Tendulkar does not hit a century India win.

A batsman should not take the fielder’s word that he has caught the ball. He may have caught the ball after the ball touched the ground. It is left to the umpire to decide.

UDRS has given an option to cricketers to challenge the decisions of field umpires. If a bowler or fielder appeals a not out decision and the third umpire is not sure after watching the replay and rules the batsman not out, too bad for the bowler or fielder. Mahela Jayawardene was right not to walk when the third umpire give him the benefit of doubt and refused to take Nathan McCullum’s word for the catch.

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