Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Wink, wink, SLAM, BANG
A beamer is the worst form of offence, because it's dangerous and you can never prove it's deliberate. So it would seem Mike Atherton is justified in calling for a one-match suspension of Sree Santh for bowling one at Kevin Pieterson in the second test at Trent Bridge. What's wrong with the remedy, however, is its ad-hocism. What is the punishment that the English players should get for leaving jelly beans on the pitch, or ostensibly using them to tamper with the ball? How do you deal with Matt Prior's 'deliberate' distraction of Indian batsmen? You can't wink at 'cheating' of that sort, and then cry hoarse over a beamer. What's missing is a clear ICC code that lists all the familiar offences: sledging and abuse, blocking the path of a batsman, picking up a ball on the follow-through and hurling it back towards the batsman when there's no chance of a runout, jostling a batsman while changing ends or shuffling the field, chucking or bowling a beamer, running on the pitch, tampering with the ball in any way... As soon as an offence like this is recorded on camera or caught on microphone or seen by an umpire, it should automatically draw a warning, suspension or ban. If they can do it in football, which is more fast-paced and physical, why not cricket? And if they won't have a strict code, then let there be a free-for-all. Why crib?