West Indies fast-bowling great Michael Holding today resurrected the International Cricket Council’s banning of West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and called on cricket’s governing body to similarly ban England fast bowler Stuart Broad for an act contrary to the spirit of the game.
During the recently concluded Champions Trophy in England Ramdin was banned for two games and also heavily fined for claiming a catch against Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq which he had dropped.
Today during the third day of the Ashes Test between Australia and England Broad sparked a heated debate on and off the field at Trent Bridge by standing his ground after he clearly edged a ball from left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and was caught by Aussie captain Michael Clarke at slip. But Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar failed to spot the nick, to the disbelief of the Australians and television commentators and Broad refused to walk.
Holding said Broad’s action was on par with that of Ramdin who was banned, ironically, by Broad’s father Chris Broad — an ICC match referee. Ramdin was punished for breaching the “spirit of cricket” which is not a formal part of the ICC playing conditions but is widely promoted across the cricket world by the MCC and forms a preamble to the laws of cricket.
“Broad played the ball and stood there. He has done the same thing, is that not contrary to the spirit of the game? I am worried that the ICC have opened up a very dicey situation. What Stuart Broad did and a lot of others is contrary to the spirit of the game.
“What Ramdin did was wrong. He should have said to his team-mates ‘Listen, the ball came out; we cannot appeal for that.’ He knows the ball has hit the ground and all he has done is throw the ball towards the umpire. He did not appeal.
“What Stuart Broad did is the same thing. He just pretended he actually didn’t hit the ball. I’m not saying either one of them is right. But if the ICC is going to fine Ramdin 50 per cent of his match fee and suspend him, saying his actions were contrary to the spirit of the game, then what Stuart Broad did is contrary to the spirit of the game,” Holding asserted.
The incident came at a crucial moment on a tense third day of the first Investec Ashes Test with Broad adding 108 runs in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand with Ian Bell that has swung the match in England’s favour. It was the latest umpiring mistake to mar the Test, with Australia on Friday feeling the same sense of injustice that England endured a day earlier after Jonathan Trott was given out lbw when the Hot Spot machine broke down.
Australia were furious with Broad. Darren Lehmann, their coach, was pictured on the balcony of the dressing room seemingly swearing, while Clarke asked Dar why Broad had not been given out. The Australian fielders gave Broad, who was on 20 then, a hard time out in the middle but he ignored the ill feeling to finish 47 not out.
The ICC match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, will decide at the end of the match whether to take action against the England player. By banning Ramdin during the Champions League for an offence that is based on an interpretation of an ethical code, the ICC has set itself a precedent.
Australia have had problems with umpire Dar before. Former captain Ricky Ponting was fined for a bust-up with him during the Boxing Day Test on the last Ashes tour. And today legendary Aussie leg-spinner and cricket commentator Shane Warne summed up Australia’s anger at the incident.
“He [Dar] always gets the crucial decisions wrong and always has, that’s why he’s not a great umpire. We all make mistakes and it’s a very tough job being an umpire, but why does he keep getting a gig?” Television immediately picked up the mistake by Dar but he did not consult the square-leg umpire and the third umpire is only called on to adjudicate in run outs, stumpings or decision review referral
While Holding’s call on the ICC to take action against Broad might could be deemed as impartial, Broad predictably got support from current and past English internationals.
Former England great Sir Ian Botham wanted to know what the fuss was all about.
“Stuart Broad did absolutely the right thing in standing his ground after that edge. Broad was entitled to stay put, he did not try to influence the umpire in any way, he just stood there and waited for a decision. He’s got away with one. Good luck to him. If you’re going to start banning and taking action against players who don’t walk, then Australia wouldn’t have a cricket team. I’ve spoken to the great Aussie opener Bill Lawry about it and he told me he’s nicked it to second slip before and just stood there waiting to be told to go,” Sir Ian stated.
Former England all-rounder Dominic Cork said: “Have you known any Australian to walk when he nicks it? Michael Clarke and the Australians having a go at Stuart Broad? Seriously Australia – it’s sour tactics. They didn’t worry about Jonathan Trott yesterday…they can’t have one rule for one and one for another. I’ve played with Australians who would nick it to second slip and think they could stand there. It’s international cricket. Get on with it,” he said.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen said: “Every batsman around the world has to wait for the umpire’s decision. Aleem Dar has been rated one of best umpires and he [Broad] is well within his right’s to wait for the decision.”
Former captain Andrew Strauss also touched on the last series in Australia when current Aussie skipper Clarke was given not out caught on the last ball of the day at Adelaide.
Clarke later apologised for not walking after he was given out on review. (WG/Sky)