CRAIG NELSON: It just isn't cricket, but you can't put back the lid on Pandora's box
12:00pm Saturday 7th June 2014 in Sport
ANGRY reaction to Sri Lankan bowler Sachithra Senanayake’s controversial ‘Mankad’ run-out of England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler went along the lines of: “That just isn’t cricket.”
I understand the sentiment – it went against an unwritten gentleman’s code – but aren’t we past all of that now?
This is professional sport, played for high stakes. Should sentiment even come into it?
A similar furore kicked up last summer when Stuart Broad refused to walk after edging a ball from Ashton Agar to Brad Haddin.
The bad feeling this caused was carried over into the winter’s Ashes Tests with pretty disastrous consequences for England.
There have been warnings of similar repercussions during the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
That seems like double standards, but if we put the hypocrisy to one side, maybe the purists would like us to go further and re-introduce the gentleman’s code across the board.
Why don’t we rewind the clock to pre-Bodyline and make this a nice, friendly sport once again?
Let’s ban fast bowlers for a start. Cricket balls are very hard and can cause serious damage, which just isn’t cricket.
It follows bouncers are out as well.
That Douglas Jardine has a lot to answer for. He tells Harold Larwood to aim for Donald Bradman’s chest, only for the Aussies to send Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee back years later to aim at our heads. That just isn’t cricket.
On the subject of Aussies, wasn’t cricket much more pleasant before Shane Warne came along and re-wrote the laws of physics.
Imagine if, when he turned the ball on a sixpence to bowl Mike Gatting behind his legs, Warne had done the decent thing and warned him first.
I think, in future, to clear up any misunderstandings, leg spinners like Warne should call their deliveries as they bowl them – shouting “googly” or “wrong-un” before completing their action.
Similarly, when trying to run out an opponent, I think it would be gentlemanly for the fielder to at least call out which end they were throwing it to, to give the batsmen fair warning.
And I don’t think the modern-day batsmen should get away scot free.
Walking should be made law and just imagine how disheartening it must be for bowlers to be smashed to all four corners of the ground.
Sir Garfield Sobers is the guilty party here. Being hit for six consecutive sixes just isn’t cricket. I think maybe we should limit batsmen to two per over.
Sadly, for the purists, Pandora’s box was opened long ago.
Cricket is no longer a gentleman’s game, it is a professional sport.
In my mind, Buttler should not have even been warned, he was out fair and square, so let’s move on.