Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's been a while (also known as my first cricket article)

Hello world,

Just to let you know: nothing incredibly interesting has happened since Tuesday.

Looks like the summer lull has finally kicked in. The baseball's been interesting, if a little irritating at times (I'm starting to understand why Jays fans can be such a jittery bunch). The cricket has been awful... at least for India and England... it's been good for Sri Lanka and South Africa (unfortunately).

Actually, I change my plea, the BBC has just published something incredibly interesting. So begins my first cricket article.

Cricket is a genuine gentleman's game (minus Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds). You act with civility and class on the cricket pitch, the umpire's word is final, right or wrong. You don't argue calls, you act with friendliness and pleasantry towards the other team. And there's tea and biscuits at 4pm.

But, there's been a bit of a groundbreaking change in the last day. Essentially, Indian captain Anil Kumble was the first player to appeal an umpire's decision yesterday and, today, Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan became the first player in the history of the game to have a decision overturned.

This may not seem groundbreaking to the casual fan, but anyone who knows cricket realizes the implications of this. Though cricket has video replay available for umpires, it is typically only the umpire who will call for the replay, the players will just carry on. It turns out teams are permitted three unsuccessful call-appeals per inning - an allowance so underused that I was unaware it even existed! But, as it would turn it, it does exist, and not only that, it gained fruition today.

The ground-breaking change is this: now that, in this one test, players have for the first time unsuccessfully and successfully appealed for an overturn of a call, it will undoubtedly become a far more regular occurrence during cricket matches. Gone are the days of gentlemanly acceptance of an umpire's call. What comes out of today's events will almost certainly lead to something we see all-too-often in football, baseball and hockey - crowding the umpire after every call, whether its right or wrong, because the player in question doesn't like it.

Many cricketers are already being increasingly recognized as overpaid prima donnas (as are athletes in many sports), but what set cricketers aside from the pack is their respect for eachother and for umpires. Today's overturned call has put an end to that.

In the words of many before me: it's a whole new ball game.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Cricket, to an extent, is gentlemanly. However, there are some notable and recurrent exceptions. As early as the "Bodyline" tour of Australia, there has been a high level of cynicism in cricket. Also, the continuing prevalence of sledging (at large part of which is racist beyond good-natured banter) is a stain on the reputation of a game that prides itself on being one that unified the tea-drinkers of the world...