Cricket Events – INDIA v AUSTRALIA?

On and Off Field Antics During The 4th Test

Kahu Sports Introduce Bill's Blog Sharing All Sports News and ViewsBill’s Blog for Wednesday covers events that I wish had never happened, however since they have happened and have attracted such massive publicity, then they must be addressed. They concern events both on-field and off-field in the last 2 days of Australia’s 4th Cricket Test against India at Dharamsala on Monday and yesterday.

Late on Day 3 as the Aussie’s disastrous 2nd Innings was coming to a close, the Australian #11 Josh Hazelwood edged a delivery from Ravi Ashwin towards Murali Vijay at second Slip. Vijay moved forward and in attempting to take the catch with both hands, inadvertently allowed the ball to touch the grass in his right hand as he “secured” his grip on the ball with his left hand. Hazelwood stood his ground momentarily before glancing at Umpire Ian Gould and then started to leave the field. Gould did NOT give Hazelwood out, but started to move towards his colleague, Marais Erasmus, for a discussion.

Vijay, meanwhile, started sprinting off the field, and by the time the two Umpires had got together and had indicated that they wanted the 3rd Umpire to verify their on-field assumption that the catch had been made, Vijay was already in the Indian Team dressing room and commencing his preparation to open the Indian 2nd Innings.

During the time it took for the 3rd Umpire to examine all available replays and to reach a decision that the ball had touched the grass and convey the decision to Gould that the decision was “Not Out”, television footage clearly showed Australian skipper Steve Smith mouthing the words “f . . .ing cheat”. As I said, it was VERY CLEAR exactly what Smith said, and it is impossible for anyone to even try and deny that those were the words he used.

In the meantime, Vijay had been forced to return to the field following the “Not Out” decision, and walked down the steps that separate the Indian and Australian team “zones” in the grandstand. What the viewer did NOT see, was what “interaction” there was (if any) between Smith and Vijay as the Indian made his way back onto the field. At the time the camera captured Smith mouthing the words “f . . .ing cheat”, he was walking away from the steps to re-join the other Australians in their viewing area.

Over the course of the entire History of Test Cricket, the once-accepted practice of a batsman asking a fielder who had “taken” a low catch “did it carry?” and then immediately accepting the fielder’s response has almost completely disappeared. Why? Is it because we now have so much technology on hand to forensically examine an attempted catch from every angle imaginable, and with “zoom” in technology to determine whether the ball touched one blade of grass?

Why can’t a batsman accept a fielders word that he has “taken a clean catch” anymore? Are we so lacking in our confidence and our eyesight that we have to rely upon others, whereas we never used to? We always knew when a fair catch had been taken, so what’s changed now? Is it money? Is it technology? Are players these days operating “under instructions”? Pretty soon, a batsman who’s middle stump has just been uprooted is gonna stand his ground & say “I’m waiting to see if it is a no-ball or not” before leaving the field. Damn ridiculous, if you ask me!

Have our levels of “sportsmanship” descended to such a level where we can no longer “trust” the word of ANYONE in the opposition ranks? Can some sections of the Cricket fraternity no longer even trust the word of an Umpire? Will it be very long before at the toss of the coin, a captain will ask to see a replay of the coin toss to confirm that he called incorrectly? When, for Heaven’s sake, is the old “two-headed coin” gonna make a reappearance?

If you think this is all pretty stupid, then let me ask you how you would react if you were Murali Vijay and you had been standing right in front of Steve Smith when he called you a “f . . .ing cheat”? After you had taken a stump and shoved it so far down his throat that the sharp end was protruding out his you-know-what, you would have been set upon by the remainder of his team mates, and would now be in a satisfactory condition in Wards 3, 4 & 5 of the Dharamsala Public Hospital!

The thing is, you couldn’t blame Vijay if he had reacted in that manner, could you? So, who would you blame if he did react like that? His “hot-blooded” attitude? Or, would you lay the blame where it deserves to be … with Steve Smith.

This was yet another “brain-fade” from the Aussie skipper who should by now be well off his “P” plates, but is clearly not. He fully deserves every censure possible from the ICC for this flagrant breach of what is “acceptable behaviour”, and for bringing the game into disrepute. Not only that, but Smith’s own Board must issue the strongest possible reprimand, with a reminder that as Captain, certain behaviour is mandatory.

It is absolutely impossible for any members of either a team or their support staff to not fully understand that with so many cameras at Cricket grounds these days, their every move will be scrutinised, analysed, dissected and reported in every detail by an avaricious media. Remember the England player (no names) who was captured reacting to his dismissal at Newlands in Cape Town a couple of decades ago? Bet he never thought a camera would see him, but 3 different angles captured his “destruction” of not only the dressing room door, but half the dressing room to boot!

This incident is a blight on the noble game of Cricket, which (believe it or not) is a game for Gentlemen and Sportsmen. There is no place in this noble game for people who call their opponent(s) a “f . . .ing cheat”. Steve Smith needs to have a VERY long, hard look at himself.

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