Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes, cricket is not a gentleman's game

Sometime, want and greed takes over the sportsmanship in the game of cricket, which is widely knows as the gentleman's game. Players will do ANYTHING to win (or not let the opponent achieve something), letting their pride go for a walk and reputation in jeopardy. I will try to list three such incidences. One is very famous. One was missed by many. And the latest of them all has triggered a widespread controversy in the subcontinent.

Scene 1
February 1, 1981, MCG - Melbourne
Australia were playing New Zealand in the third ODI final of the World Series Cup. The series was level at 1-1. New Zealand needed 6 to tie this match. the bowler Trevor Chappel was to bowl to Kiwi number 10 batsman - Brian McKechnie, while the centurian of the day, Bruce Edgar was at the non-striker end, praying, I assume. Greg, came up to Trevor and gave him some instructions. The execution of the instructions would shock the cricketing world for ages. Its been almost 30 years now, but the incidence is still a thorn in Australian cricket.

It was an under-arm ball delivered by Trevor Chappel! Yes, the batsman was flabbergasted. All he could do was touch the rolling ball with his bat, throw his bat away in disgust. Well, the MCC rules had nothing against the under-arm ball, but this was beyond the limit of unsprotsmanship, and should I say, cowardice.

Their elder brother, Ian Chappel was going "No no... you can't do that!". If only they could listen from 90 m away!

here is the moment -

The video clip of the ball -

The video of the last over. Richie Benaud called it the worst moment in the history of the game -

Scene 2
August 16, 2009. Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Almost exactly an year ago, Zimbabwe were hosting Bangladesh in an ODI series. The series was into the fourth match, with B'desh leading 2-1. Charles Coventry was in the form of his life. The lanky middle order batsman was scoring runs like it was his birth right to do so. He had surpassed the previous highest score by a Zimbabwean (172 by Wishart vs Namibia, 156 by Masakadza vs Kenya, importantly 145 by Andy Flower vs India ). And by the end of 46th over or so, he was going good enough for the 200. He was on 191 at the start of the last over. He takes a single, and has to wait for an opportunity to get the strike back once again. When Utseya tried to do so, in the third ball of the over, chipped a ball to long on, the fielder present there over-ran the ball to give him the four and disallow Coventry the strike. I do not know if he was upset with himself or put the team before individual achievements, but Coventry agreed for a 2 in the next ball, stayed at the non striker end. Got the strike for the last ball of the innings, on which he took a couple to put him at 194*, the highest individual score in an ODI, tied along with Saeed Anwar's knock against India more than a dozen years ago.

Here is the page covering the match. click here for the commentary section.

Scene 3
August 16, 2010 (good day for a controversy, is it? ). Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla.

Sri Lanka play India, in the third match of the tri-series. SL and NZ have pocketed a match each, and now India were five runs away from getting their first to square things up on the points table. Sehwag was facing Suraj Randiv, the prospective off-spinner of Lanka. Plenty of overs to spare, even to get a bonus point for India. First ball goes for 4 byes through the sides of the keeper, bad/poor bounce for the let off. And then, Sehwag plays cautious for a couple of balls, trying to sneak a single. he perished on 99 in a test match against the same bowler trying to reach the mark in style, his style. So, he was trying to be cautious. One run to win, one run to his 13th Century in ODIs.

Randiv hops and comes and bowls a HUGE no-ball! A football can go in the gap between his heel and the crease! And Sehwag launches the ball beyond the ropes for a six and celebrates the Indian victory and what he thought, his 13th century. But India had won the match as soon as the no-ball was called and the match is hence, completed. Thus, Viru's 6 doesn't count, and he is left stranded at the crease at 99! What a cheap tactic! Whatever respect I had for the spinner was lost in that moment. One incidence is enough to bring your reputation to the floor! No matter what he has achieved, or will achieve, he will surely be remembered for this incidence. Especially when you do it against the team you play more often that you play your video game!

Watch it for yourself

Comments, views, and suggestions welcome

1 comment:

  1. slight correction to a nice article.... Coventry's 194. Tied second highest... namma sachin mama 200 adichuttaru.... aug 16, nice day for a day after ur b'day right?