NEIL BONNAR: Broad gamesmanship puts cricket in a bad light
11:00pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport
A LOCAL Premier League referee once questioned me on why I always stood up for the officials in football in my column for this newspaper.
He clearly found it hard to believe a newspaper man would think in such a way, and gave me the impression he thought I may have an ulterior motive.
I explained it was because the referee was the only person on a football field you could be assured was honest.
He did not seem convinced by my answer, which shows how dishonesty and gamesmanship has now become so completely ingrained in our national sport.
The same goes for cricket, where the umpires are the ones who get criticised when they have been deceived by players.
Stuart Broad’s admission this week that he knew he hit the ball in the Ashes Test match at Trent Bridge and refused to walk is typical of the game.
The runs he scored after that controversial moment were more than the number of runs England won by, leading some to suggest it was his refusal to admit he had hit the ball at the time which won England the match.
Speaking about it for the first time this week he said: “It wasn't as clear-cut as everyone had thought, although I knew I’d hit it.”
Australia coach Darren Lehmann is infuriated by Broad’s behaviour, calling it “blatant cheating” and calling on Australia’s supporters to make Broad cry with their verbal treatment of him when the Ashes are fought for again Down Under in the winter.
Lehmann didn’t help his cause by adding that he is not an advocate of walking when you know you are out.
That kind of attitude, which seems to be the majority one in cricket, makes the job of the umpire so much harder.
At a time when British sport is going through a golden period with the Olympics, Tour de France, Wimbledon and US Open triumphs to name just a few, cricket and football are a huge let-down with their culture of gamesmanship.
Broad said England now have a win-at-all-costs attitude and pointed out many other players who have not walked in the past and not received the same kind of media attention as him.
Well, two wrongs don’t make a right. He made the umpires look silly, which was unfair of him, and to now admit he knew he was out just leaves a sour taste.
If only cricket and football could took a leaf out of the book of honest sports like golf and snooker, where the players put the integrity of the sport before the desire to win.